Effects of land use/cover change on regional land surface temperatures: severe warming from drying Toshka lakes, the Western Desert of Egypt

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Toshka depression in the Western Desert of Egypt witnessed big floods in late 1990s from the Nile River behind the High Dam, where many lakes were formed. By the year 2003, the lakes attained their maximum spatial extent. Concurrently, a huge agricultural project was designed to reshape the landscape of the Western Desert and to construct new communities outside the Nile Valley. Unfortunately, after 2003 the lakes started drying and by 2015 most of these lakes were disappeared with symptoms of soil degradation by salt crusting. The main objective of this study was to address the change in land surface temperatures (LST) resulted from the emergence and disappearance of these lakes as the main land use/land cover (LULC) change in the region. The study was performed using remote sensing and GIS. LST data were extracted using 299 satellite images acquired from the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) LST product for the period between 2003 and 2015. Results point out to the occurrence of a severe heat island caused by soil degradation due to wetting and drying of desert soils. The mean LST increased from 37.7 °C in 2003 to 42.11 °C in 2015. The primary outcome of this study is that human interference with the hydrologic setting of this hot desert is the reason for interrupting the land energy fluxes and budget. There are undoubtedly physical, ecological and social impacts of this regional warming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1789-1803
Number of pages15
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017



  • Land surface temperature
  • Remote sensing
  • Salinization
  • Toshka

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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