On the statistics of urban heat island intensity

B. Zhou, D. Rybski, J. P. Kropp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


We perform a systematic study of all cities in Europe to assess the Urban Heat Island (UHI) intensity by means of remotely sensed land surface temperature data. Defining cities as spatial clusters of urban land cover, we investigate the relationships of the UHI intensity, with the cluster size and the temperature of the surroundings. Our results show that in Europe, the UHI intensity in summer has a strong correlation with the cluster size, which can be well fitted by an empirical sigmoid model. Furthermore, we find a novel seasonality of the UHI intensity for individual clusters in the form of hysteresis-like curves. We characterize the shape and identify apparent regional patterns. Key Points Nouvelle method to automatically measure UHI intensity Typical maximum UHI intensity of 3{degree sign}C (Europe) Hysterisis-like seasonality

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5486-5491
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
StatePublished - 28 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Europe
  • city cluster
  • city size
  • seasonality
  • statistics
  • urban heat island

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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