Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Bruce Millett


Rapid urbanization due to land use and land cover change has become one of the major problems in the fastest-growing cities during the past few decades. Land surface temperature has changed dramatically due to urban expansion, and it is a major driver of urban eco-environmental change. Increasing temperature leads to the Urban Heat Island (UHI) problem in rapidly growing cities like Denver, contributing to global warming at multiple scales. UHI study is significant to monitor and mitigate the urban heat islandrelated problem in the study area Denver. Satellite remote sensing analysis ready data (ARD) with 30 m resolution based on Landsat 4,5,7 and 8 were acquired for nine dates that correspond to summer, fall, and winter seasons in 1985, 2000, and 2020. Land cover change dynamics were derived using Land Change Monitoring Assessment and Projection (LCMAP) developed land cover classes, and land surface temperature (LST) has been extracted from seasonal and annual surface temperature data. Land cover data analysis observed changes within seven primary land cover classes; for instance, study area has gained 13% of developed land cover but lost a significant percentage of cropland from 1985 to 2020. The relationship between land cover and surface temperature has been explored by linear regression analysis using normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and LST. NDVI was taken as the explanatory variable, and LST was taken as a dependent variable to show the correlation between land cover and LST. Investigation of the correlation between NDVI and LST found that seasonal variability, spatiotemporal variations, and other underlying factors affect their relationship. Seasonal and annual Urban Heat Island intensity (UHII) distribution and variation have been investigated. The results found that the mean annual UHII in 2020 was 1°C which was greater than the mean UHII in 1985 and 2000. The UHII distribution was consistent in the central part of the city, and the scattered distribution of UHII was examined in non-urban extent over the past three decades. The methodology of this study can be a framework for future research on cities with a similar climate to Denver, and this can also help for sustainable urban planning and a better ecological environment.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Urban heat island -- Colorado -- Denver.
Landscape changes -- Colorado -- Denver.
Land use -- Colorado -- Denver.
Urban climatology.
Climatic changes.


South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright