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The effects of urban land cover dynamics on urban heat Island intensity and temporal trends

April 12, 2021

Assessments of surface urban heat island (UHI) have focused on using remote sensing and land cover data to quantify UHI intensity and spatial distribution within a certain time period by including land cover information. In this study, we implemented a prototype approach to characterize the spatiotemporal variations of UHI using time series of Landsat land surface temperature products and annual land change information. We analyzed UHI distribution and change in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in the north-central United States and found that the mean UHI intensity in the region was as large as 2.2°C during the period 1986–2017 with an increasing trend of 0.02°C per year within the area with a 5-km non-urban extent. The UHI intensity associated with high intensity urban land cover usually is stronger than with low intensity urban land cover. We evaluated the impact of different non-urban reference extents on UHI variation using different non-urban buffers. The result also suggests that the overall temporal trends of UHI intensity are almost the same when using a 5-km or 10-km non-urban buffer surrounding the urban core. The prototype approach provides a framework to consistently quantify UHI and monitor its change to a large geographic extent.