Estimating UHI from Remote Sensing and Weather Stations: Some Caveats

Authors: Raja Sengupta*, McGill University, Prasad Avinash Pathak, FLAME University
Topics: Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Urban Heat Island, UHI, Land Surface Temperature, LST, Remote Sensing
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Jackson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect is well-established phenomenon, whereby higher values of night-time temperatures are observed in urban areas with respect to a surrounding rural reference. However, additional research is required to determine its spatial and seasonal variability across climatic zones (i.e., surrounding a tropical city Pune in India, and a temperate city Montreal in Canada). One method to do so rapidly is through the use of remote sensing products that measure Land Surface Temperatures (LST) as a proxy of ambient air temperatures, which can then identify UHI Intensities (the average difference in temperatures between urban and rural areas). However, our initial findings indicate that in some cases, only MODIS nighttime imagery data is useful for this purpose, but suffers from a rather coarse resolution (of upto 1 km). While LST measured from Landsat data has better resolution of 90m, because this data is taken during the daytime, the correlation with actual air temperature is not perfect. Further, in certain seasons it predominantly captures inverted UHI effects in both climatic zones. It is important, therefore, to determine the usefulness of the LST method of rapidly estimating UHI keeping these various caveats in mind. And to further explore how traditional weather-station based methods validate, or contradict, the UHI intensity calculations obtained from satellite derived measures.

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