Over the past four decades Delhi, India, has witnessed rapid urbanization and change in land use land cover (LULC) pattern, with most of the cultivable areas and wasteland being converted into built-up areas. Presently around 40% land is under built-up area, a drastic rise of 30% from 1977. The effect of changing LULC, at a local scale, on various variables-land surface temperature (LST), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), emissivity, albedo, evaporation, Bowen ratio, and planetary boundary layer (PBL) height, from 1991–2016, is investigated. To assess the spatio-temporal dynamics of land-air interactions, we select two different 100 km transects covering the NE-SW and NW-SE expanse of Delhi and its adjoining areas. High NDVI and emissivity is found for regions with green cover and drastic reduction is noted in built-up area clusters. In both of the transects, land surface variations manifest itself in patterns of LST variation. Parametric and non-parametric correlations are able to statistically establish the land-air interactions in the city. NDVI, an indirect indicator for LULC classes, significantly helps in understanding the modifications in LST and ultimately air temperature. Significant, strong positive relationships exist between skin temperature and evaporation, skin temperature and PBL height, and PBL height and evaporation, providing insights into the meteorological changes that are associated with urbanization.
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