PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (9): 1062-1074.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.09.002

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Progress in urban heat island monitoring by remote sensing

Yuanzheng LI1,2, Ke YIN3, Hongxuan ZHOU1, Xiaolin WANG1, Dan HU1,*()   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100085, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. Poyang Lake Eco-Economy Research Centre, Jiujiang University, Jiujiang 332005, Jiangxi, China
    4. School of Mechanics & Civil Engineering, China University of Mining & Technology, Xuzhou 221116, Jiangsu, China
    5. Tobacco Research Institute of CAAS, Qingdao 266101, Shandong, China
  • Received:2016-04-01 Revised:2016-07-01 Online:2016-09-20 Published:2016-09-20
  • Contact: Dan HU
  • Supported by:
    Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571482; Indepentdent Program of State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, No SKLURE2012-1-01


Rapid and high intensity urbanization is currently occurring in the world, resulting in increasingly more serious urban heat island phenomenon. Urban heat islands have direct and indirect impacts on various eco-environment factors of cities, regions, and the world, which are closely related to the human well-being. Remote sensing method has been widely used for Surface Urban Heat Island (SUHI) monitoring for its obvious advantages, such as wide range, huge amount of information, short observation cycle, among others. Considering the issue that existing studies have not systematically summarized the thermal infrared data sources, monitoring indicators, and the spatiotemporal variation patterns of monitoring results, and the related information needs to be updated, this study conducted a review of progress of surface urban heat island monitoring by remote sensing. First, we presented and classified the thermal infrared remote sensing data sources for the SUHI monitoring by remote sensing in previous studies. Second, we divided the monitoring indicators into three types, including land cover types-driven kind, Land Surface Temperature (LST) pattern-driven kind, and complex kind driven by both land cover types and LST pattern. We introduced the main indicator calculation methods and application cases in detail and analyzed their advantages and disadvantages. We then reviewed the intraannual spatiotemporal change regulation of the SUHI from three aspects, including diurnal variation, nocturnal variation, and comparative variations between day and night. We also considered the patterns of interannual changes. Finally, we proposed several key issues and potential research directions based on the research areas in which conflicting conclusions are found or research needs to be deepened in the existing studies.

Key words: land surface temperature, monitoring indicator, spatiotemporal variation, land use and land cover, surface biophysical parameter, research progress