Spatiotemporal Variation of Summertime Urban Heat Island (UHI) and Its Correlation with Particulate Matter (PM2.5) over Metropolitan Cities in Alabama
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More than half of the global population lives in urban areas, which can cause the phenomenon known as Urban Heat Island (UHI). UHI is a phenomenon where urban areas experience higher temperatures compared to their rural surroundings. The occurrence of UHI in large
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More than half of the global population lives in urban areas, which can cause the phenomenon known as Urban Heat Island (UHI). UHI is a phenomenon where urban areas experience higher temperatures compared to their rural surroundings. The occurrence of UHI in large cities is primarily due to urbanization and increased vehicular emissions. Factors such as wind speed and direction, solar flux, and the thermodynamic properties of surface materials determine the intensity of UHI. It can cause thermal air circulation, leading to high concentrations of urban air pollutants such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5). These pollutants can remain suspended in the air and cause asthma and allergies. It is essential to understand the characteristics of UHI intensity and its effect on air quality. This study aims to analyze the spatiotemporal variations of UHI and their correlation with PM2.5 concentration in three Alabama cities, namely Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile, during the summer seasons of 2002, 2012, and 2022. The study also compares UHI in these cities with nearby rural areas to determine the effect of urbanization by calculating the Normalized Difference Building Index (NDBI). To achieve these objectives, the Land Surface Temperature (LST), UHI intensity, and NDBI Datasets were analyzed. The results showed that PM2.5 concentrations in the cities have been decreasing annually since 2002, leading to an improvement in air quality. There was a negative linear correlation between UHI intensity and PM2.5 concentration. However, LST remained consistently high throughout the study period. The correlation between UHI intensity and NDBI was positive. The findings of this study can help us better understand the dynamics and driving mechanisms of the urban heat environment. Furthermore, they can assist urban metropolitan planners in developing more efficient mitigation strategies that reduce the negative impacts of UHI and PM2.5 concentrations on the environment.