Environmental Management

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 234–249 | Cite as

Land Surface Phenology and Land Surface Temperature Changes Along an Urban–Rural Gradient in Yangtze River Delta, China

  • Guifeng Han
  • Jianhua Xu


Using SPOT/VGT NDVI time series images (2002–2009) and MODIS/LST images (2002–2009) smoothed by a Savitzky–Golay filter, the land surface phenology (LSP) and land surface temperature (LST), respectively, are extracted for six cities in the Yangtze River Delta, China, including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Changzhou, Wuxi, and Suzhou. The trends of the averaged LSP and LST are analyzed, and the relationship between these values is revealed along the urban–rural gradient. The results show that urbanization advances the start of the growing season, postpones the end of the growing season, prolongs the growing season length (GSL), and reduces the difference between maximal NDVI and minimal NDVI in a year (NDVIamp). More obvious changes occur in surface vegetation phenology as the urbanized area is approached. The LST drops monotonously and logarithmically along the urban–rural gradient. Urbanization generally affects the LSP of the surrounding vegetation within 6 km to the urban edge. Except for GSL, the difference in the LSP between urban and rural areas has a significant logarithmic relationship with the distance to the urban edge. In addition, there is a very strong linear relationship between the LSP and the LST along the urban–rural gradient, especially within 6 km to the urban edge. The correlations between LSP and gross domestic product and population density reveal that human activities have considerable influence on the land surface vegetation growth.


Urbanization Land surface phenology Land surface temperature Urban–rural gradient Yangtze River Delta region 



The study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41001364) and the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (Grant No. 20090191120030). We thank Dr. ZW Sun for his constructive comments and suggestions on our manuscript. And we are very grateful for thorough and helpful comments from reviewers of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of New Technology for Construction of Cities in Mountain Area of Education Ministry, College of Architecture and Urban PlanningChongqing UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science of Education Ministry, Department of GeographyEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina

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