The effects of land cover on urban-rural and intra-urban temperature differences have been extensively documented. However, few studies have quantitatively related air temperature to land cover composition at a local scale which may be useful to guide landscape planning and design. In this study, the quantitative relationships between air temperature and land cover composition at a neighborhood scale in Beijing were investigated through a field measurement campaign and statistical analysis. The results showed that the air temperature had a significant positive correlation with the coverage of man-made surfaces, but the degree of correlation varied among different times and seasons. The different land cover types had different effects on air temperature, and also had very different spatial extent dependence: with increasing buffer zone size (from 20 to 300 m in radius), the correlation coefficient of different land cover types varied differently, and their relative impacts also varied among different times and seasons. At noon in summer, ∼37% of the variations in temperature were explained by the percentage tree cover, while ∼87% of the variations in temperature were explained by the percentage of building area and the percentage tree cover on summer night. The results emphasize the key role of tree cover in attenuating urban air temperature during daytime and nighttime in summer, further highlighting that increasing vegetation cover could be one effective way to ameliorate the urban thermal environment. © 2014 Yan et al.
Yan, H., Fan, S., Guo, C., Hu, J., & Dong, L. (2014). Quantifying the impact of land cover composition on intra-urban air temperature variations at a mid-latitude city. PLoS ONE, 9(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0102124