Rooftop surface temperature analysis in an Urban residential environment

Qunshan Zhao, Soe Myint, Elizabeth Wentz, Chao Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The urban heat island (UHI) phenomenon is a significant worldwide problem caused by rapid population growth and associated urbanization. The UHI effect exacerbates heat waves during the summer, increases energy and water consumption, and causes the high risk of heat-related morbidity and mortality. UHI mitigation efforts have increasingly relied on wisely designing the urban residential environment such as using high albedo rooftops, green rooftops, and planting trees and shrubs to provide canopy coverage and shading. Thus, strategically designed residential rooftops and their surrounding landscaping have the potential to translate into significant energy, long-term cost savings, and health benefits. Rooftop albedo, material, color, area, slope, height, aspect and nearby landscaping are factors that potentially contribute. To extract, derive, and analyze these rooftop parameters and outdoor landscaping information, high resolution optical satellite imagery, LIDAR (light detection and ranging) point clouds and thermal imagery are necessary. Using data from the City of Tempe AZ (a 2010 population of 160,000 people), we extracted residential rooftop footprints and rooftop configuration parameters from airborne LIDAR point clouds and QuickBird satellite imagery (2.4 m spatial resolution imagery). Those parameters were analyzed against surface temperature data from the MODIS/ASTER airborne simulator (MASTER). MASTER images provided fine resolution (7 m) surface temperature data for residential areas during daytime and night time. Utilizing these data, ordinary least squares (OLS) regression was used to evaluate the relationships between residential building rooftops and their surface temperature in urban environment. The results showed that daytime rooftop temperature was closely related to rooftop spectral attributes, aspect, slope, and surrounding trees. Night time temperature was only influenced by rooftop spectral attributes and slope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12135-12159
Number of pages25
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2015


  • GIS
  • OLS regression analysis
  • Rooftop
  • UHI
  • Urban environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Rooftop surface temperature analysis in an Urban residential environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this