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Yvonne Walz [05-2010]:

Challenges in Using Remotely Sensed Temperature for Epidemiology

Diese Arbeit ist online verfügbar: Download


Remote sensing is used in the field of epidemiology for the monitoring, surveillance and early warning of those diseases that are in close relation to environmental conditions and properties. With respect to vector-borne diseases, temperature is theoretically a decisive determinant for the geographical distribution of diseases and seems promising for the application in epidemiology. This research investigates in a systematic way specific challenges that occur when remote sensing data are used in the field of epidemiology based on a case study. This case study investigates the spatial and temporal context between the vector-borne disease dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and remotely sensed land surface temperature (LST) from MODIS data. A first major challenge addresses the question, how ambient temperature relevant for disease epidemiology can be represented by remote sensing methods. In this context, this research investigates availability and quality of remote sensing data in contrast to temperature measured at climate stations. A second major challenge puts emphasis on the scale mismatch that occurs, when remote sensing data and epidemiological data are combined. Therefore, different scale levels from the 1x1km pixel of MODIS data in contrast to administrative levels of communes and districts of epidemiological data are compared in this research. The results of this study suggest that the application of remote sensing data for the example of LST can be highly limited in practice due to constraints in data quality. These limitations are predominantly caused by cloud coverage, influence of land cover and strong deviations of LST in comparison to real ambient temperature. Analyses of different scale levels show, that the context between LST and DHF incidence should be investigated on a common scale of analyses, which allows considering the influence of land cover. The case study of this research demonstrates that the theoretical context between dengue fever and ambient temperature is highly complex in practice and further modified by various other factors influencing the dengue disease epidemiology.


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