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Keywords:

  • urban heat island;
  • MODIS;
  • remote sensing;
  • GIS;
  • Birmingham;
  • surface temperatures

Abstract

This study investigates the summer (June, July, August) night urban heat island (UHI) of Birmingham, the UK's second most populous city. Land surface temperature remote sensing data is used from the MODIS sensor on NASA's Aqua satellite, combined with UK Met Office station data to map the average variation in heat island intensity over the Birmingham conurbation. Results are presented of average UHI events over four Pasquill-Gifford stability classes D, E, F, and G between 2003 and 2009, as well as a specific heatwave event in July 2006. The results quantify the magnitude of the Birmingham surface UHI as well as the impact of atmospheric stability on UHI development. During periods of high atmospheric stability, a UHI of the order of 5 °C is evident with a clear peak in the central business district. Also identified, are significant cold spots in the conurbation. In one city park, recorded surface temperatures are up to 7 °C lower than the city centre. Copyright © 2010 Royal Meteorological Society