Assessing seasonality in the surface urban heat island of London

Bin Zhou, Dirk Lauwaet, Hans Hooyberghs, Koen De Ridder, Jürgen P. Kropp, Diego Rybski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This paper assesses the seasonality of the urban heat island (UHI) effect in the Greater London area (United Kingdom). Combining satellite-based observations and urban boundary layer climate modeling with the UrbClim model, the authors are able to address the seasonality of UHI intensity, on the basis of both land surface temperature (LST) and 2-m air temperature, for four individual times of the day (0130, 1030, 1330, and 2230 local time) and the daily means derived from them. An objective of this paper is to investigate whether the UHI intensities that are based on both quantities exhibit a similar hysteresis-like trajectory that is observed for LST when plotting the UHI intensity against the background temperature. The results show that the UrbClim model can satisfactorily reproduce both the observed urban-rural LSTs and 2-m air temperatures as well as their differences and the hysteresis in the surface UHI. The hysteresis-like seasonality is largely absent in both the observed and modeled 2-m air temperatures, however. A sensitivity simulation of the UHI intensity to incoming solar radiation suggests that the hysteresis of the LST can mainly be attributed to the seasonal variation in incoming solar radiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-505
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Boundary layer
  • Heat islands
  • Surface temperature
  • Urban meteorology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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