Investigating Surface Urban Heat Islands in South America Based on MODIS Data from 2003–2016
Hubei Key Laboratory of Critical Zone Evolution, School of Geography and Information Engineering, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
Remote Sensing Centre of Hunan Province, Changsha 410007, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(10), 1212; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11101212
Received: 10 May 2019 / Revised: 18 May 2019 / Accepted: 20 May 2019 / Published: 22 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Remote Sensing of Urban Thermal Environment: Progresses, Challenges, and Opportunities)
Surface urban heat islands (SUHIs) have been investigated in many regions around the world, but little attention has been given with regard to SUHIs in South America. In this study, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land surface temperature (LST) data was used to investigate the diurnal, seasonal, and interannual variations in the SUHI intensity (SUHII, the urban LST minus the rural LST) in 44 South American cities in different climate zones and types of rural land. To examine the effects of factors that may influence the SUHII, correlations between the SUHII and the enhanced vegetation index (EVI), urban area, population, altitude, and anthropogenic heat emissions were performed. The results showed that the SUHI effect was obvious in South America. The mean daytime SUHII was higher than the mean night-time SUHII in all areas except for the arid climate zone. In the daytime, the summer displayed a stronger SUHII in the warm temperate climate zone than the other seasons. The night-time SUHII showed less obvious seasonal variations. In addition, the surrounding land cover influenced the SUHII. During the day, the SUHII was therefore stronger in rural areas that were covered by forests than in other types of rural land. Interannually, most cities showed an insignificant temporal trend in the SUHII from 2003 to 2016. The daytime SUHII was significantly and negatively correlated with the ∆EVI (the urban EVI minus the rural EVI) across the 44 cities, but a poor relationship was observed at night. In addition, anthropogenic heat emissions were positively correlated with the night-time SUHII. Urban area, population, and altitude were weakly correlated with the SUHII, which suggested that these factors may not have a significant impact on the spatial variations in the SUHII in South America.