Publication Date

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Meteorology and Climate Science


Craig B. Clements


Field Observation, Oklahoma City, Satellite Remote Sensing, UCI, UHI, WRF/SLUCM Simulation

Subject Areas



The Urban Heat Island (UHI) was investigated using satellite data, ground observations, and simulations with an Urban Canopy Parameterization in a numerical weather prediction model. Satellite-observed surface skin temperatures at Xi’an City and Oklahoma City (OKC) were analyzed to compare the UHI intensity for the two inland cities. A larger population density and larger building density in Xi’an City creates a stronger skin-level UHI effect. However, ground observed 2-m surface air temperature (Tair) data showed an urban cooling island (UCI) effect that occurred over an urban region in OKC during the daytime of July 19, 2003.

The sensitivity and accuracy of an Urban Canopy Model were evaluated by comparing simulation results between the urban and rural areas of OKC. The model reproduced skin temperature differences between the rural and urban area and reproduced a UCI effect in OKC. Furthermore, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF)/Noah/Single-Layer Urban Canopy Model (SLUCM) simulations were also compared with ground observations, including wind speeds, wind directions, and energy fluxes. Although the WRF/SLCUM model failed to simulate these variables accurately, it reproduced the diurnal variations of surface temperatures, wind speeds, wind directions and energy fluxes reasonably well.