Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 203–219 | Cite as

Assessing the effects of land use and land cover patterns on thermal conditions using landscape metrics in city of Indianapolis, United States

  • Qihao WengEmail author
  • Hua Liu
  • Dengsheng Lu


Direct applications of remote sensing thermal infrared (TIR) data in landscape ecological research are rare due to limitations in the sensors, calibration, and difficulty in interpretation. Currently there is a general lack of methodology for examining the relationship between land surface temperatures (LST) derived from TIR data and landscape patterns extracted from optical sensors. A separation of landscapes into values directly related to their scale and signature is a key step. In this study, a Landsat ETM+ image of Indianapolis, Unites States, acquired on June 22, 2000, was spectrally unmixed (using spectral mixture analysis, SMA) into fraction endmembers of green vegetation, soil, high albedo, and low albedo. Impervious surface was then computed from the high and low albedo images. A hybrid classification procedure was developed to classify the fraction images into seven land use and land cover (LULC) classes. Using the fractional images, the landscape composition and pattern were examined. Next, pixel-based LST measurements were correlated with the landscape fractional components to investigate LULC based relationships between LST and impervious surface and green vegetation fractions. An examination of the relationship between the LULC and LST maps with landscape metrics was finally conducted to deepen understanding of their interactions. Results indicate that SMA-derived fraction images were effective for quantifying the urban morphology and for providing reliable measurements of biophysical variables. LST was found to be positively correlated with impervious surface fraction but negatively correlated with green vegetation fraction. Each temperature zone was associated with a dominant LULC category. Further research should be directed to the theoretical and applied implications of describing such relationships between LULC patterns and urban thermal conditions.


Land surface temperature Land use and land cover Spectral mixture analysis Landscape metrics Urban ecology 



This research is supported by National Science Foundation (BCS-0521734) for a project entitled “Role of Urban Canopy Composition and Structure in Determining Heat Islands: A Synthesis of Remote Sensing and Landscape Ecology Approach”. We would also like to thank Associate Editor, Dr. Gordon M. Heisler, and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Geology, and AnthropologyIndiana State UniversityTerre HauteUSA
  2. 2.School of Forestry and Wildlife SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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