EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Estimating urban sensible heat flux using satellite-based data

Gabriel Rios and Prathap Ramamurthy
Gabriel Rios and Prathap Ramamurthy
  • City College of New York, NOAA-CESSRST, United States of America (

A model for calculating sensible heat flux (QH) – a primary component of the urban surface energy budget - is presented here. Remote sensing data from the NOAA GOES-16 satellite and a high-resolution land cover dataset are used as inputs to calculate the spatio-temporal variability in urban sensible heat flux. The primary motivation for this model is to present a cost-effective approach to calculate QH independent of traditional flux observations and computational methods. The GOES-16 satellite data, which has a moderate spatial and high temporal resolution (2 km square at 5 minute intervals) enables the estimation of QH over highly heterogeneous urban areas. The model is constructed using an iterative algorithm that uses surface layer turbulence parameterization to solve for QH as a function of the enterprise GOES-16 Land Surface Temperature product, an urban air temperature model, publicly-accessible ground observations, and the National Land Cover Database (NLCD). Preliminary model validation was performed over a five-month period in 2019. Three (3) ground flux stations in the New York City metro area with varying degrees of urbanization were used for model validation. Statistics from validation found an RMSE of 42.9 W-m-2, a mean bias of 12.9 W-m-2, and an R2 of 0.80. Validation results demonstrate that the algorithm shows good correlation with observed values, suggesting that satellite data can be used as an accessible and cost-effective option to estimate QH in urban areas.

How to cite: Rios, G. and Ramamurthy, P.: Estimating urban sensible heat flux using satellite-based data, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6079,, 2021.


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