Urban temperature bias, defined to be the difference between a shelter temperature reading of unknown but suspected urban influence and some appropriate rural reference temperature, is estimated through the use of polar-orbiting satellite data. Predicted rural temperatures, based on a method developed using sounding data, are shown to be of reasonable accuracy in many cases for urban bias assessments using minimum temperature data from selected urban regions in the United States in July 1989. Assessments of predicted urban bias were based on comparisons with observed bias, as well as independent measures of urban heat island influence, such as population statistics and urban-rural differences in a vegetation index. This technique provides a means of determining urban bias in regions where few if any rural reference stations are available, or where inhomogeneities exist in land surface characteristics or rural station locations.

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