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Spatial Analysis of Surface Urban Heat Islands in Four Rapidly Growing African Cities

Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba City 305-8572, Ibaraki, Japan
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, School of Natural Resources, Copperbelt University, P.O. Box 21692, Kitwe 10101, Zambia
Department of Environmental Management, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Mihintale 50300, Sri Lanka
National Institute for Environmental Studies, 16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba City, Ibaraki 305-8506, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(14), 1645;
Received: 23 May 2019 / Revised: 1 July 2019 / Accepted: 7 July 2019 / Published: 10 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geospatial Analysis of Urban Heat Island Phenomena in Megacities)
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Africa’s unprecedented, uncontrolled and unplanned urbanization has put many African cities under constant ecological and environmental threat. One of the critical ecological impacts of urbanization likely to adversely affect Africa’s urban dwellers is the urban heat island (UHI) effect. However, UHI studies in African cities remain uncommon. Therefore, this study attempts to examine the relationship between land surface temperature (LST) and the spatial patterns, composition and configuration of impervious surfaces/green spaces in four African cities, Lagos (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Lusaka (Zambia). Landsat OLI/TIRS data and various geospatial approaches, including urban–rural gradient, urban heat island intensity, statistics and urban landscape metrics-based techniques, were used to facilitate the analysis. The results show significantly strong correlation between mean LST and the density of impervious surface (positive) and green space (negative) along the urban–rural gradients of the four African cities. The study also found high urban heat island intensities in the urban zones close (0 to 10 km) to the city center for all cities. Generally, cities with a higher percentage of the impervious surface were warmer by 3–4 °C and vice visa. This highlights the crucial mitigating effect of green spaces. We also found significant correlations between the mean LST and urban landscape metrics (patch density, size, shape, complexity and aggregation) of impervious surfaces (positive) and green spaces (negative). The study revealed that, although most African cities have relatively larger green space to impervious surface ratio with most green spaces located beyond the urban footprint, the UHI effect is still evident. We recommend that urban planners and policy makers should consider mitigating the UHI effect by restoring the urban ecosystems in the remaining open spaces in the urban area and further incorporate strategic combinations of impervious surfaces and green spaces in future urban and landscape planning. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban heat island; land surface temperature; impervious surface; green space; African cities; Landsat data urban heat island; land surface temperature; impervious surface; green space; African cities; Landsat data

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Simwanda, M.; Ranagalage, M.; Estoque, R.C.; Murayama, Y. Spatial Analysis of Surface Urban Heat Islands in Four Rapidly Growing African Cities. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1645.

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