Studying Moscow urban heat island using satellite images and mesoscale climatic modelling

DOI: 10.35595/2414-9179-2021-3-27-183-195

View or download the article (Rus)

About the Authors

Mikhail I. Varentsov

M.V. Lomonosov MSU, Research Computing Center,
Leninskiye Gory, 1-4, 119991, Moscow, Russia;

A.M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics,
3 Pyzhyovskiy Pereulok, 119017 Moscow, Russia;

Hydrometeorological Research Center of Russian Federation,
13/1, Bolshoy Predtechenskiy Pereulok, 123376 Moscow, Russia;


Mikhail Y. Grischenko

M.V. Lomonosov MSU, Faculty of Geography,
Leninskiye Gory, 1, 119991, Moscow, Russia;

HSE University, Faculty of Geography and Geoinformatics,
Pokrovsky blvd, 11, 109028, Moscow, Russia;


Polina G. Mikhaylyukova

M.V. Lomonosov MSU, Faculty of Geography,
Leninskiye Gory, 1, 119991, Moscow, Russia;


Using the example of the Moscow region, a detailed comparison of the thermal regime of a highly urbanized territory was carried out according to in-situ data and different-scale satellite images. For the summer season, fundamental differences in the characteristics of the spatial variability of LST and air temperature in the daytime are revealed. It is shown that the relationship between the fields of these quantities is practically absent, primarily for urbanized territories, for which the effect of the heat island in the LST field is pronounced, and is practically not expressed in the air temperature field. However, for the winter season, some cases were identified with a more pronounced relationship between these values. The results obtained are independently confirmed by the results of numerical experiments with the COSMO model and the TERRA_URB parameterization with a 1 km grid step. At the same time, the prospects of using high spatial resolution images for model verification are shown: they made it possible to draw conclusions about the choice of the optimal configuration of model settings. For both summer and winter seasons, a comparison was made of high spatial resolution satellite data from Landsat with low spatial resolution data from MODIS. It is shown that, in spite of the generally good agreement between the two types of data, in some cases there are significant discrepancies between them due to differences in the values of the emissivity used and other factors that require more detailed analysis in further studies.


city climate, geographical images interpretation, Moscow, Landsat, MODIS, COSMO


  1. Bechtel B., Alexander P.J., Böhner J., Ching J., Conrad O. Mapping local climate zones for a worldwide database of the form and function of cities. ISPRS International Journal of GeoInformation, 2015. V. 4. P. 199–219.
  2. Climate of Moscow (Climate features of the big city). Leningrad: Gidrometeoizdat, 1969. 323 p. (in Russian).
  3. Climate of Moscow under global warming. Moscow: Moscow University Press, 2017. 288 p.
  4. Grishchenko M.Y., Chernulich K.K. Investigation of the relationship between ground-based and space temperature data on the example of the Wrangel and Kunashir islands. Izvestiya vysshikh uchebnykh zavedeniy. Geodeziya i aerofotos”yemka. 2019. V. 63. No. 5. P. 566–575 (in Russian).
  5. Grishchenko M.Y., Sarychev E.Y., Varentsov M.I., Samsonov T.E. Experience in determining the area of urban development from satellite images for the tasks of meteorological modeling (case study of Moscow). InterCarto. InterGIS. 2020. V. 26. No. 2. P. 298–312 (in Russian).
  6. Kuznetsova I.N., Brusova N.E., Nakhaev M.I. Moscow urban heat island: Detection, boundaries, and variability. Russian Meteorology and Hydrology, 2017. V. 42. No. 5. P. 305–313 (in Russian).
  7. Lokoshchenko M.A. Urban heat island and urban dry island in Moscow and their centennial changes. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 2017. V. 56. No. 10. P. 2729–2745.
  8. Lokoshchenko M.A., Yenukova E.A. Heat island in the Moscow region according to satellite data. Meteorologiya i gidrologiya. 2020. V. 7. P. 50–63 (in Russian)
  9. Manual for hydromelteorological stations and posts. Vyp. 3, Ch. 1. Leningrad: Gidrometeoizdat, 1985. 296 p. (in Russian).
  10. Oke T.R., Mills G., Christen A., Voogt J.A. Urban climates. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 509 p.
  11. Varentsov M., Samsonov T., Demuzere M. Impact of urban canopy parameters on a megacity’s modelled thermal environment. Atmosphere. 2020. V. 11. No. 12. P. 1–31.
  12. Varentsov M.I., Grishchenko M.Y., Konstantinov P.I. Comparison of ground-based and satellite-based different-scale temperature data on the example of cities in the Russian Arctic for winter conditions. Issledovaniye Zemli iz kosmosa. 2021. No. 1. P. 1–13 (in Russian).
  13. Varentsov M.I., Grishchenko M.Y., Wouters H. Simultaneous assessment of the summer urban heat island in Moscow megacity based on in situ observations, thermal satellite images and mesoscale modeling. Geography, Environment, Sustainability, 2019. V. 12. No. 4. P. 74–95.
  14. World Meteorological Organization. Weather. Climate. Water. URL: (access: 27.03.2021).
  15. Wouters H., Demuzere M., Blahak U., Fortuniak K., Maiheu B., Camps J., Tielemans D., Lipzig N.P.M. van. The efficient urban canopy dependency parametrization (SURY) v1.0 for atmospheric modelling: description and application with the COSMO-CLM model for a Belgian summer. Geosci. Model Dev. 2016. V. 9. No. 9. P. 3027–3054.

For citation: Varentsov M.I., Grischenko M.Y., Mikhaylyukova P.G. Studying Moscow urban heat island using satellite images and mesoscale climatic modelling. InterCarto. InterGIS. GI support of sustainable development of territories: Proceedings of the International conference. Moscow: MSU, Faculty of Geography, 2021. V. 27. Part 3. P. 183–195. DOI: 10.35595/2414-9179-2021-3-27-183-195 (in Russian)