Monday, February 20, 2017


A analysis of a portion of Dallas was done to locate heat islands and identify what causes them. A heat island is commonly described as urban areas that produces higher background temperatures than surrounding rural areas. These islands have been noted to increase overall temperatures in cities, causing ecological decline in rural areas within the city.

This study utilized Landsat TM data as well as GIS to create a map of heat islands within the search area. Once the surface temperature was calculated the pixels were color coded relating to different temperature ranges. Then the temperature data was then merged with a map that showed land use.
The merging of these two maps created view of where heat islands were located and what materials caused them. Heat islands accounted for 16% of the area analysed. The biggest cause of them were found to be impervious cover such as parking lots and roads. Other culprits were areas with bare soil and new neighborhoods. This study found that urban areas experience a 2-8 °F increase in temperature when compared to rural areas away from the city. For cities to reduce heat islands, they would need to limit high heat emitting surfaces such as asphalt and bare soil. Cities would also benefit from larger parks with more tree cover. Reducing impervious surfaces and increasing tree cover in cites would lead to fewer heat island and would help to lower temperatures in urban areas.        

Aniello, C., Morgan, K., Busbey, A., & Newland, L. (1995). Mapping micro-urban heat islands using Landsat TM and a GIS. Computers & Geosciences21(8), 965969-967.


  1. This is really interesting. I wonder if creating buildings that have trees and plants on them would help, or even creating more tree lined roads so the concrete can heat up. It would be wonderful if cities started putting more parks in, but the hard part is the cities that are most likely heat islands are very busy cities with not a lot of room to spare.

  2. I wonder what research could benefit from these maps. Such as neighborhoods becoming safer for children to play around outside during the summer. Also, if any of this data is being considered in such situations.

  3. I think that this map could have been redone in color and shown a heat map. To be the view of the black and white map is a little confusing and hard to see.