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Traditional studies of urban climate used air temperature observations from local urban/rural weather stations in order to analyze the general pattern of higher temperatures in urban areas compared with corresponding rural regions, also known as the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. More recently, satellite remote sensing datasets of land surface temperature have been exploited to monitor UHIs. While closely linked, air temperature and land surface temperature (LST) observations do not measure the same variables. Here we analyze land surface temperature vs.air temperature-based characterization and seasonality of the UHI and the surface UHI (SUHI) from 2003 to 2012 over the Upper Midwest region of the United States using LST from MODIS, and air temperature from the Daymet modeled gridded daily air temperature dataset, and compare both datasets to ground station data from first-order weather stations of the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) located in eleven urban areas spanning our study region. We first convert the temperature data to metrics of nocturnal, diurnal, and daily thermal time and their annual accumulations to draw conclusions on nighttime vs. daytime and seasonal dynamics of the UHI. In general, the MODIS LST-derived results are able to capture urban–rural differences in daytime, nighttime, and daily thermal time while the Daymet air temperature-derived results show very little urban–rural differences in thermal time. Compared to the GHCN ground station air temperature-derived observations, MODIS LST-derived results are closer in terms of urban–rural differences in nighttime thermal time, while the results from Daymet are closer to the observations from GHCN during the daytime. We also found differences in the seasonal dynamics of UHIs measured by air temperature observations and SUHIs measured by LST observations.
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© 2016 The Author(s)
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Krehbiel, Cole and Henebry, Geoffrey M., "A Comparison of Multiple Datasets for Monitoring Thermal Time in Urban Areas over the U.S. Upper Midwest" (2016). GSCE Faculty Publications. 73.