Mapping dustfall distribution in urban areas using remote sensing and ground spectral data

Xing Yan, Wen Zhong Shi, Wenji Zhao, Nana Luo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to utilize remote sensing and ground-based spectral data to assess dustfall distribution in urban areas. The ground-based spectral data denoted that dust has a significant impact on spectral features. Dusty leaves have an obviously lower reflectance than clean leaves in the near-infrared bands (780-1,300nm). The correlation analysis between dustfall weight and spectral reflectance showed that spectroscopy in the 350-2,500-nm region produced useful dust information and could assist in dust weight estimation. A back propagation (BP) neutral network model was generated using spectral response functions and integrated remote sensing data to assess dustfall weight in the city of Beijing. Compared with actual dustfall weight, validation of the results showed a satisfactory accuracy with a lower root mean square error (RMSE) of 3.6g/m2. The derived dustfall distribution in Beijing indicated that dustfall was easily accumulated and increased in the south of the city. In addition, our results showed that construction sites and low-rise buildings with inappropriate land use were two main sources of dust pollution. This study offers a low-cost and effective method for investigating detailed dustfall in an urban environment. Environmental authorities may use this method for deriving dustfall distribution maps and pinpointing the sources of pollutants in urban areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-612
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2015


  • Dustfall
  • Remote sensing
  • Spectral reflectance
  • Urban areas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

Cite this