Alahmad, B; Tomasso, LP; Al-Hemoud, A; James, P; Koutrakis, P (2020). Spatial Distribution of Land Surface Temperatures in Kuwait: Urban Heat and Cool Islands. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH, 17(9).

The global rise of urbanization has led to the formation of surface urban heat islands and surface urban cool islands. Urban heat islands have been shown to increase thermal discomfort, which increases heat stress and heat-related diseases. In Kuwait, a hyper-arid desert climate, most of the population lives in urban and suburban areas. In this study, we characterized the spatial distribution of land surface temperatures and investigated the presence of urban heat and cool effects in Kuwait. We used historical Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Terra satellite 8-day composite land surface temperature (LST) from 2001 to 2017. We calculated the average LSTs of the urban/suburban governorates and compared them to the average LSTs of the rural and barren lands. We repeated the analysis for daytime and nighttime LST. During the day, the temperature difference (urban/suburban minus versus governorates) was -1.1 degrees C (95% CI; -1.2, -1.00, p < 0.001) indicating a daytime urban cool island. At night, the temperature difference (urban/suburban versus rural governorates) became 3.6 degrees C (95% CI; 3.5, 3.7, p < 0.001) indicating a nighttime urban heat island. In light of rising temperatures in Kuwait, this work can inform climate change adaptation efforts in the country including urban planning policies, but also has the potential to improve temperature exposure assessment for future population health studies.