There is no doubt that the Urban Heat Island (UHI) is a mounting problem in built-up environments, due to the energy retention by the surface materials of dense buildings, leading to increased temperatures, air pollution, and energy consumption. Much of the earlier research on the UHI has used two-dimensional (2-D) information, such as land uses and the distribution of vegetation. In the case of homogeneous land uses, it is possible to predict surface temperatures with reasonable accuracy with 2-D information. However, three-dimensional (3-D) information is necessary to analyze more complex sites, including dense building clusters. Recent research on the UHI has started to consider multi-dimensional models.
The purpose of this research is to explore the urban determinants of the UHI, using 2-D/3-D urban information with statistical modeling. The research includes the following stages: (a) estimating urban temperature, using satellite images, (b) developing a 3-D city model by LiDAR data, (c) generating geometric parameters with regard to 2-/3-D geospatial information, and (d) conducting different statistical analyses: OLS and spatial regressions. The research area is part of the City of Columbus, Ohio.
To effectively and systematically analyze the UHI, hierarchical grid scales (480m, 240m, 120m, 60m, and 30m) are proposed, together with linear and the log-linear regression models. The non-linear OLS models with Log(AST) as dependent variable have the highest R2 among all the OLS-estimated models. However, both SAR and GSM models are estimated for the 480m, 240m, 120m, and 60m grids to reduce their spatial dependency. Most GSM models have R2s higher than 0.9, except for the 240m grid. Overall, the urban characteristics having high impacts in all grids are embodied in solar radiation, 3-D open space, greenery, and water streams. These results demonstrate that it is possible to mitigate the UHI, providing guidelines for policies aiming to reduce the UHI.