Determination of Air Urban Heat Island Parameters with High-Precision GPS Data

Jorge Mendez-Astudillo, Lawrence Lau, Yu Ting Tang, Terry Moore

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The urban heat island (UHI) effect can contribute to extreme heat exposure. This can be detrimental to human health. In this paper, we propose a method to estimate air temperature to evaluate the spatial distribution and to monitor the intensity of the air urban heat island (AUHI) from existing GPS infrastructure. The proposed algorithm is based on the relationship between the refractivity of the troposphere and environmental variables, as well as the relationships between the zenith tropospheric delay (ZTD), a by-product of the precise point positioning technique, and the refractivity of the troposphere. The advantage of GPS data is its high temporal resolution and the availability of embedded GPS receivers. In this paper, GPS-derived ZTD data from stations in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of China and Tokyo in Japan are processed to estimate the hourly AUHI intensity. The results derived from this technique are validated using meteorological data in the same cities. Mean absolute error values of 0.79°C in Hong Kong and 0.22°C in Tokyo are found from data from the summer. Moreover, an overall accuracy of 0.5°C is found.

Original languageEnglish
Article number417
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • GPS meteorology remote sensing
  • Hong Kong
  • precise point positioning
  • Tokyo
  • tropospheric delay
  • UHI diurnal cycle
  • urban heat island
  • zenith tropospheric delay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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