During the progress of urbanization in China, a large number of natural landscapes have been replaced by impervious surfaces. The strong interference from human activities has led to the intensification of urban heat island (UHI) effects and has had a negative influence on the health of residents. Zhengzhou, as a new representative city of rapid urbanization, can be used as a case study for UHI. This study built an inversion model of the land surface temperature (LST) of Zhengzhou in 1996, 2000, 2006, 2010 and 2014. On this foundation, the four indicators of land use/land cover (LULC), density of the population, urban construction, and industrial development were chosen to establish a quantitative analysis model between them and the LST. The conclusions were as follows: (1) From 1996–2014, the average LST in Zhengzhou increased by 2.939 °C, and the standard deviation decreased from 4.08 to 2.64. (2) Since 2006, the development zone far from the center of city has become a new urban high temperature zone. The distribution characteristics of the UHI have changed from “centralization in downtown” to “downtown and suburban distribution”. (3) Construction land and vegetation had the most significant impacts on the UHI effect. The construction land was positively correlated with LST, and the vegetation showed the opposite effect. The population density, urban construction and industrial development have strong driving effects on the UHI effect, of which the driving force of industrial development is the most intense.
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