Exploring the impacts and temporal variations of different building roof types on surface urban heat island

Document Type


Publication Date



Geography and Geology

Publication Title

Remote Sensing


This study examined the impact of different types of building roofs on urban heat islands. This was carried out using building roof data from remotely sensed Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) imagery. The roofs captured included white surface, blue steel, dark metal, other dark material, and residential roofs; these roofs were compared alongside three natural land covers (i.e., forest trees, grassland, and water). We also collected ancillary data including building height, building density, and distance to the city center. The impacts of various building roofs on land surface temperature (LST) were examined by analyzing their correlation and temporal variations. First, we examined the LST characteristics of five building roof types and three natural land covers using boxplots and variance analysis with post hoc tests. Then, multivariate regression analysis was used to explore the impact of building roofs on LST. There were three key findings in the results. First, the mean LSTs for five different building roofs statistically differed from each other; these differences were more significant during the hot season than the cool season. Second, the impact of the five types of roofs on LSTs varied considerably from each other. Lastly, the contribution of the five roof types to LST variance was more substantial during the cool season. These findings unveil specific urban heat retention drivers, in which different types of building roofs are one such driver. The outcomes from this research may help policymakers develop more effective strategies to address the surface urban heat island phenomenon and its related health concerns.

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