A Geographically Weighted Regression Analysis of the Underlying Factors Related to the Surface Urban Heat Island Phenomenon




Zhao, Chunhong
Jensen, Jennifer L. R.
Weng, Qihao
Weaver, Russell

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute


This study investigated how underlying biophysical attributes affect the characterization of the Surface Urban Heat Island (SUHI) phenomenon using (and comparing) two statistical techniques: global regression and geographically weighted regression (GWR). Land surface temperature (LST) was calculated from Landsat 8 imagery for 20 July 2015 for the metropolitan areas of Austin and San Antonio, Texas. We sought to examine SUHI by relating LST to Lidar-derived terrain factors, land cover composition, and landscape pattern metrics developed using the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 2011. The results indicate that (1) land cover composition is closely related to the SUHI effect for both metropolitan areas, as indicated by the global regression coefficients of building fraction and NDVI, with values of 0.29 and −0.74 for Austin, and 0.19 and −0.38 for San Antonio, respectively. The terrain morphology was also an indicator of the SUHI phenomenon, implied by the elevation (0.20 for Austin and 0.09 for San Antonio) and northness (0.20 for Austin and 0.09 for San Antonio); (2) the SUHI phenomenon of Austin on 20 July 2015 was affected by the spatial pattern of the land use and land cover (LULC), which was not detected for San Antonio; and (3) with a local determination coefficient higher than 0.8, GWR had higher explanatory power of the underlying factors compared to global regression. By accommodating spatial non-stationarity and allowing the model parameters to vary in space, GWR illustrated the spatial heterogeneity of the relationships between different land surface properties and the LST. The GWR analysis of SUHI phenomenon can provide unique information for site-specific land planning and policy implementation for SUHI mitigation.



surface Urban Heat Index (SUHI), landscape, geographically weighted regression, spatial pattern, Austin, San Antonio, Geography and Environmental Studies


Zhao, C., Jensen, J., Weng, Q., & Weaver, R. (2018). A geographically weighted regression analysis of the underlying factors related to the surface urban heat island phenomenon. Remote Sensing, 10(9): 1428.


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