Niu, L; Tang, RL; Jiang, YZ; Zhou, XM (2020). Spatiotemporal Patterns and Drivers of the Surface Urban Heat Island in 36 Major Cities in China: A Comparison of Two Different Methods for Delineating Rural Areas. SUSTAINABILITY, 12(2), 478.

Urban heat islands (UHIs) are an important issue in urban sustainability, and the standardized calculation of surface urban heat island (SUHI) intensity has been a common concern of researchers in the past. In this study, we used the administrative borders (AB) method and an optimized simplified urban-extent (OSUE) algorithm to calculate the surface urban heat island intensity from 2001 to 2017 for 36 major cities in mainland China by using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images. The spatiotemporal differences between these two methods were analyzed from the perspectives of the regional and national patterns and the daily, monthly, and annual trends. Regardless of the spatial or temporal scale, the calculation results of these two methods showed extremely similar patterns, especially for the daytime. However, when the calculated SUHI intensities were investigated through a regression analysis with multiple driving factors, we found that, although natural conditions were the main drivers for both methods, the anthropogenic factors obtained from statistical data (population and gross domestic product) were more correlated with the SUHI intensity from the AB method. This trend was probably caused by the spatial extent of the statistical data, which aligned more closely with the rural extent in the AB method. This study not only explores the standardization of the calculation of urban heat intensity but also provides insights into the relationship between urban development and the SUHI.