Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 75 ›› Issue (9): 1860-1878.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202009004

• Climate and Ecological Environment • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Urban heat island studies based on local climate zones: A systematic overview

JIANG Sida1(), ZHAN Wenfeng1,2(), YANG Jun3, LIU Zihan1, HUANG Fan1, LAI Jiameng1, LI Jiufeng1, HONG Falu1, HUANG Yuan4, CHEN Jike5, LEE Xuhui6   

  1. 1. Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, International Institute for Earth System Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
    3. Jiangho Architecture College, Northeastern University, Shenyang 110169, China
    4. School of Architecture and Design, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 611756, China
    5. School of Remote Sensing & Geomatics Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
    6. Yale-NUIST Center on Atmospheric Environment, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • Received:2019-11-27 Revised:2020-06-07 Online:2020-09-25 Published:2020-11-25
  • Contact: ZHAN Wenfeng;


Since 2012, urban heat islands (UHIs) over various cities have been re-investigated under the local climate zones (LCZ) concept. However, a systematic overview of the recent progress in terms of the LCZ-based UHI studies remains lacking. This status quo has considerably restrained the UHI studies across global cities in a more standard manner. Here we comprehensively reviewed the preceding LCZ-based UHI studies with statistical- and meta-analysis. The literature review indicates that LCZ-based UHIs have been conducted over more than 130 cities globally, mostly located in the middle latitudes (35°N-55°N) within Asia and Europe. These investigations focus either on the canopy layer UHI (represented by surface air temperature, SAT) or on the surface layer UHI (denoted by land surface temperature, LST) or both. The overview was conducted mainly from three aspects including the "data acquisition", "spatiotemporal pattern", and "associated control". Our further findings show that: (1) On "data acquisition", satellite thermal remote sensing is the most important technique for retrieving LST, with the percentage of studies that employ this technique accounting for 86.5%. But for SAT, the main approaches include measurements by fixed stations (42.5%) and mobile vehicles (19.2%) as well as simulations by models (38.3%), among which the approach by model simulation has received more attention; (2) On "spatiotemporal pattern", the mean difference between the maximum and minimum temperatures among various LCZs for SAT (3.1 K) is significantly lower than that for LST (9.8 K), with relatively high magnitudes in summer and winter compared with the other seasons for these two types of temperatures.Prominent "intra-LCZ heat islands" were observed for both the canopy and surface UHIs; (3) On "associated controls", most studies are still qualitative on the analysis of the relationships between LCZ-based UHIs and their controls (e.g., surface structure and fabric, land cover type, and human activity). Other potential controls such as building typology and adjacency among LCZ types remain less considered. We finally provided several prospects for the LCZ-based UHI studies. We hope this overview would be helpful for improving the understanding of the current progress and upcoming prospects for the LCZ-based UHI studies.