This study identifies the use of the sky view factor (SVF) in urban climate studies. In addition, it relates air temperature differences to the SVF and examines these differences with respect to the height at which fish-eye photographs are taken for the calculation of the SVF. The study focuses on night-time air temperature patterns within the urban canopy using data collected during clear, calm nights from sixteen permanent stations and from car measurements. Fish-eye photographs taken at two levels (2 m above ground and at ground level) are compared and shown to be statistically different. The results of the study performed in Göteborg, Sweden, indicate a fairly strong relationship between air temperature and SVF. The permanent stations used indicate that it is better to use fish-eye photographs taken at ground level. The relationship is determined by means of regression analysis. The SVF variation in urban areas and the importance of SVF in relation to other central parameters such as thermal admittance are also discussed. Copyright © 2004 Royal Meteorological Society