Assessment of surface urban heat islands over three megacities in east asia using land surface temperature data retrieved from COMS

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Abstract

Surface urban heat island (SUHI) impacts control the exchange of sensible heat and latent heat between land and atmosphere and can worsen extreme climate events, such as heat waves. This study assessed SUHIs over three megacities (Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing) in East Asia using one-year (April 2011-March 2012) land surface temperature (LST) data retrieved from the Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite (COMS). The spatio-temporal variations of SUHI and the relationship between SUHI and vegetation activity were analyzed using hourly cloud-free LST data. In general, the LST was higher in low latitudes, low altitudes, urban areas and dry regions compared to high latitudes, high altitudes, rural areas and vegetated areas. In particular, the LST over the three megacities was always higher than that in the surrounding rural areas. The SUHI showed a maximum intensity (10-13 °C) at noon during the summer, irrespective of the geographic location of the city, but weak intensities (4-7 °C) were observed during other times and seasons. In general, the SUHI intensity over the three megacities showed strong seasonal (diurnal) variations during the daytime (summer) and weak seasonal (diurnal) variations during the nighttime (other seasons). As a result, the temporal variation pattern of SUHIs was quite different from that of urban heat islands, and the SUHIs showed a distinct maximum at noon of the summer months and weak intensities during the nighttime of all seasons. The patterns of seasonal and diurnal variations of the SUHIs were clearly dependent on the geographic environment of cities. In addition, the intensity of SUHIs showed a strong negative relationship with vegetation activity during the daytime, but no such relationship was observed during the nighttime. This suggests that the SUHI intensity is mainly controlled by differences in evapotranspiration (or the Bowen ratio) between urban and rural areas during the daytime.

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Choi, Y. Y., Suh, M. S., & Park, K. H. (2014). Assessment of surface urban heat islands over three megacities in east asia using land surface temperature data retrieved from COMS. Remote Sensing, 6(6), 5852–5867. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs6065852

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