Diurnal thermal behavior of selected urban objects using remote sensing measurements

A. Chudnovsky*, E. Ben-Dor, H. Saaroni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research analyzes and summarizes some thermal behavior of various urban surfaces in time and space using high-resolution video thermal radiometer situated at a height of 103m, in the city of Tel-Aviv. The physical properties of the various urban elements, their color, the sky view factor (SVF), street geometry, traffic loads, and anthropogenic activity are important among the factors that determine the radiant surface temperature in the urban environment. During daytime, asphalt paved roads and rooftops were found to be the warmest urban elements in our study area. In contrast, exterior walls and trees hold the highest surface temperatures at night. Open spaced surfaces that are exposed to direct solar radiation during daytime and to heat loss at night were characterized by the highest diurnal temperature range. The radiometric stationary experiment revealed the temperature differences between diverse urban coverage to be at most 10°C; such maximum temperature differences were measured in the early noon hours. The minimal temperatures were observed just before sunrise, when the temperature contrasts (4-5°C) were smaller than in the early noon hours. The daytime hours between 9-10a.m. and 5-8p.m. turned out to be problematic for remote sensing of the urban environment, because the thermal differences between different objects were found to be insignificant. A remote survey aiming to study the urban environment should be conducted twice: in the early morning hours before sunrise (5a.m.) and in the early noon hours (12-1p.m.). The knowledge of thermal behavior of various urban components is an important tool for designers and decision-makers. If utilized properly, it can lead to climatic rehabilitation in urban areas and a reduction of the UHI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1074
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Diurnal thermal behavior
  • Surface temperature
  • Thermal video radiometer
  • Urban heat island
  • Urban surfaces


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