Effects of landscape composition and pattern on land surface temperature: An urban heat island study in the megacities of Southeast Asia

Sci Total Environ. 2017 Jan 15;577:349-359. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.10.195. Epub 2016 Nov 7.


Due to its adverse impacts on urban ecological environment and the overall livability of cities, the urban heat island (UHI) phenomenon has become a major research focus in various interrelated fields, including urban climatology, urban ecology, urban planning, and urban geography. This study sought to examine the relationship between land surface temperature (LST) and the abundance and spatial pattern of impervious surface and green space in the metropolitan areas of Bangkok (Thailand), Jakarta (Indonesia), and Manila (Philippines). Landsat-8 OLI/TIRS data and various geospatial approaches, including urban-rural gradient, multiresolution grid-based, and spatial metrics-based techniques, were used to facilitate the analysis. We found a significant strong correlation between mean LST and the density of impervious surface (positive) and green space (negative) along the urban-rural gradients of the three cities, depicting a typical UHI profile. The correlation of impervious surface density with mean LST tends to increase in larger grids, whereas the correlation of green space density with mean LST tends to increase in smaller grids, indicating a stronger influence of impervious surface and green space on the variability of LST in larger and smaller areas, respectively. The size, shape complexity, and aggregation of the patches of impervious surface and green space also had significant relationships with mean LST, though aggregation had the most consistent strong correlation. On average, the mean LST of impervious surface is about 3°C higher than that of green space, highlighting the important role of green spaces in mitigating UHI effects, an important urban ecosystem service. We recommend that the density and spatial pattern of urban impervious surfaces and green spaces be considered in landscape and urban planning so that urban areas and cities can have healthier and more comfortable living urban environments.

Keywords: Greenspace; Impervious surface; Land surface temperature; Landscape pattern; Megacities; Urban heat island.