Urban Heat Island Intensity Mapping of Las Vegas Using Landsat Thermal Infrared Data

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2019: Groundwater, Sustainability, Hydro-Climate/Climate Change, and Environmental Engineering


American Society of Civil Engineers

Publisher Location

Pittsburgh, PA



First page number:


Last page number:



The urban area of Las Vegas expanded rapidly between 1990 and 2010 covering large areas of native desert landscape with urban materials. These alterations to the surfaces change the thermal processes in the immediate region. In this research, we study the relation between air temperature and surface temperature in Las Vegas by comparing ground weather station temperature data to land surface temperature images from the Landsat thematic mapper. Urban heat island intensity (UHII) is estimated based on noon and midnight air temperature. The thermometric air and remotely sensed surface temperature are related and used to interpolate UHII for Las Vegas. The resultant UHII map was compared with Landsat 5 true color composite images and a 2006 tree canopy coverage created by the Southern Nevada Water Authority. We find that places with strong UHII typically have less urban development and sparse vegetation. New residential developments in an arid region with high surface vegetation have a cooling effect on the temperature. Averaging the UHII values in areas with similar land use zones show that industrial and commercial areas average a UHI index value that is 0.3 greater than residential land use zone.


Landsat; Thematic mapper; Thermal infrared; UHII; Urban heat island


Environmental Engineering | Hydraulic Engineering | Water Resource Management



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