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Satellite-Based Adjustments for the Urban Heat Island Temperature Bias

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  • a Office of Research and Applications, NOAA/NESDIS, Washington, D.C.
  • | b National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina
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Abstract

Monthly and seasonal relationships between urban–rural differences in minimum, maximum, and average temperatures measured at surface-based observation stations were compared to satellite-derived Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer estimates of a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and surface radiant temperature (Tsfc). The relationships between surface- and satellite-derived variables were developed during 1989–91 and tested on data acquired during 1992–93. The urban–rural differences in air temperature were linearly related to urban–rural differences in the NDVI and Tsfc. A statistically significant but relatively small (less than 40%) amount of the variation in these urban–rural differences in air temperature [the urban heat island (UHI) bias] was associated with variation in the urban–rural differences in NDVI and Tsfc. A comparison of the satellite-based estimates of the UHI bias with population-based estimates of the UHI bias indicated similar levels of error. The use of satellite-derived data may contribute to a globally consistent method for analysis of the urban heat island bias.

Corresponding author address: Kevin P. Gallo, National Climatic Data Center, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801.

Kevin.P.Gallo@noaa.gov

Abstract

Monthly and seasonal relationships between urban–rural differences in minimum, maximum, and average temperatures measured at surface-based observation stations were compared to satellite-derived Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer estimates of a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and surface radiant temperature (Tsfc). The relationships between surface- and satellite-derived variables were developed during 1989–91 and tested on data acquired during 1992–93. The urban–rural differences in air temperature were linearly related to urban–rural differences in the NDVI and Tsfc. A statistically significant but relatively small (less than 40%) amount of the variation in these urban–rural differences in air temperature [the urban heat island (UHI) bias] was associated with variation in the urban–rural differences in NDVI and Tsfc. A comparison of the satellite-based estimates of the UHI bias with population-based estimates of the UHI bias indicated similar levels of error. The use of satellite-derived data may contribute to a globally consistent method for analysis of the urban heat island bias.

Corresponding author address: Kevin P. Gallo, National Climatic Data Center, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801.

Kevin.P.Gallo@noaa.gov

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