Assessing the impact of urban geometry on surface urban heat island using complete and nadir temperatures

Jinxin Yang, Massimo Menenti, Zhifeng Wu, Man Sing Wong, Sawaid Abbas, Yong Xu, Qian Shi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The surface urban heat island intensity (SUHII) when using nadir-viewing radiometric and complete surface temperature (Tr and Tc) was evaluated. The urban areas of the Kowloon peninsula and Hong Kong Island were selected and four daytime Landsat TM images and two nighttime ASTER images were collected to retrieve Tr and then model Tc based on a semi-empirical model. SUHIIs were estimated using both the retrieved Tr and modelled Tc. High spatial resolution (HR) airborne thermal images (0.2 m) observed at 12:10 noon on Oct 24, 2017 were used to retrieve Tc directly. Results based on HR data and satellite data were consistent and indicated that the geometry of the built-up space had a larger impact on SUHII when using Tc (SUHIIc) than Tr (SUHIIr). During daytime SUHIIc decreased while SUHIIr showed a very slight increase with building density. Both SUHIIc and SUHIIr decreased with higher building height but the rate of decrease of SUHIIc was higher than SUHIIr. Both SUHIIc and SUHIIr decreased with increasing building height variance and increased with increasing sky view factor (SVF). The rate of decrease with building height variance for SUHIIc was larger than SUHIIr. The rate of increase of SUHIIc with SVF was higher than SUHIIr. During nighttime, geometry effects on SUHIIc and SUHIIr were different from daytime. Both SUHIIc and SUHIIr increased with building density, while the rate of increase of SUHIIc with building density, as well as with building height, was much higher than SUHIIr. Both SUHIIc and SUHIIr decreased with SVF, but the rate of decrease of SUHIIc was higher than SUHIIr. Both SUHIIc and SUHIIr initially increased with building height variance and then remained approximately constant. We also evaluated the UHI intensity: SUHIIc was much closer to UHII than SUHIIr. Overall, building geometry had larger impact on SUHIIc than on SUHIIr, that is, SUHIIc is more representative of urban climate than SUHIIr.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • surface urban heat island
  • thermal remote sensing
  • urban geometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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