Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 121, Issue 3–4, pp 631–640 | Cite as

The summer surface urban heat island of Bucharest (Romania) retrieved from MODIS images

  • Sorin ChevalEmail author
  • Alexandru Dumitrescu
Original Paper


The summer surface urban heat island (SUHI) of the city of Bucharest (Romania) is investigated in terms of its shape, intensity, extension and links to land cover. The study employs land surface temperature (LST) data retrieved by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors aboard the Terra (EOS AM-1) and Aqua (EOS PM-1) NASA satellites, between 2000 and 2012. Based on the Rodionov regime shift index, the significant changing points in the land surface temperature values along transverse profiles crossing the city’s centre were considered as SUHI’s limits. The thermal difference between the SUHI and several surrounding buffers defines the SUHI’s intensity. The night-time SUHI’s geometry is more regular, and its intensity is slightly lower than during the day, while the land cover exerts a strong influence on Bucharest’s LST. In summary, the study proposes a methodology to delimit and quantify the average SUHI based on the statistical significance of the shift between the urban area and its surroundings, and the limitations of the method are mentioned.


Land Cover Land Surface Temperature Land Cover Type Urban Heat Island MODIS Land Surface Temperature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to warmly acknowledge Sergiu Ioan (National Meteorological Administration, Bucharest) and Sam Hardy (University of Manchester) for their support in improving the English used in this paper and Prof. Dr. Eng. Dan Constantinescu, for his long-term encouragement and highly competent suggestions regarding urban climate research. We also thank to the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions.

Supplementary material

704_2014_1250_MOESM1_ESM.doc (46 kb)
Supplementary Figure Daytime (A.) and nighttime (B.) SUHI limits for each summer month and aggregated (DOC 45 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Meteorological AdministrationBucharestRomania

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