Urban Heat Island in Kathmandu, Nepal: Evaluating Relationship between NDVI and LST from 2000 to 2018
The term “urban heat island” (UHI) describes increased surface and atmospheric temperatures in an urban core relative to surrounding non-urbanized areas. Although the phenomenon has been studied to a great extent throughout the world, it is less understood for Kathmandu, Nepal. This study used the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS) 8-day product (MOD11A2) to evaluate land surface temperatures (LSTs), the MODIS-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) 16-day product (MOD13Q1) to quantify land surface characteristics, and the MODIS annual land cover classification product (MCD12Q1) to identify major land cover classes. We evaluated the spatial correlation between significant changes in LSTs and NDVI between 2000–2018. Overall, urban (permanently developed areas) LSTs were consistently greater than non-urban (forests and dynamic agriculture lands) LSTs; however, the rate of increase in temperature was higher outside the central Kathmandu developed urban area. Furthermore, significant changes in NDVI values over time were more widespread and not always spatially coincident with significant changes in LST values, particularly for forested land areas. These results provide insight into systematic planning of open and green areas, construction of new infrastructure in peripheral areas, and highlight the challenges in applying traditional UHI conceptual models to rapidly developing urban areas such as Kathmandu, Nepal.
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