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Spatial variability of air temperature and appropriate resolution for satellite-derived air temperature estimation

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This study investigates the spatial variability of air temperature over Hong Kong using in situ air temperature recorded from a mobile traverse combined with an ASTER thermal satellite image. Three different degrees of urbanization in Hong Kong, including city downtown (Kowloon), suburban areas (Yuen Long and Shatin), and rural countryside (Tai Mo Shan and Lam Tsuen) are analysed. The spatially variable relationship between air and surface temperature was evaluated using two spatial averaging techniques, namely spatial resampling and buffering around air temperature points. The strength of the correlation coefficient was tested for every decreasing resolution and the appropriate spatial scales of air temperature in urban, suburban and rural areas were found to be 200 m, 450 m and 700 m, respectively. The differences in the spatial scales of air temperature in these regions are attributed mainly to structural factors of land cover such as city block size, building density and percentage of green areas, and secondarily to the climatic conditions being operating in, and which commonly typify these individual regions. Thus small scale lengths in the urban area corresponded to heterogeneous land cover, a well developed urban boundary layer, low wind speeds and a low lapse rate, whereas longer scale lengths were observed in suburban and rural areas having more homogeneous land cover, higher wind speeds and higher lapse rate.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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