Assessment of Karachi as an Urban Heat Island Threat through Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques


  • Muhammad Ali Lakhan Department of Environmental Sciences
  • Ambreen Afzal National Institute of Maritime Affairs, Bahria University Karachi Campus Pakistan, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Samreen Riaz Ahmed Department of Environmental Sciences, Sindh Madressatul Islam University, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Altaf Hussain Lahori Department of Environmental Sciences, Sindh Madressatul Islam University, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Muhammad Irfan Department Al- Mava House, PECHS Block 6, K-Electric, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Salman Zubair Department of Geography, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Anila Kausar Department of Geography, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Shella Bano Department of Geography, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Sergij Vambol Department of Occupational and Environmental Safety, National Technical University Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute, Kharkiv, Ukraine
  • Viola Vambol Department of Environmental Engineering and Geodesy, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Lublin, Poland
  • Igor Mishchenko Department of Machine Components and Theory of Machines and Mechanisms, Kharkiv National Automobile and Highway University, Kharkiv, Ukraine



Build-up areas, land use/land cover, emissivity, satellite monitoring, temperature increase, NDVI


The present study aimed to assess the threat of transformation of Karachi into an Urban Heat Island, so, ambit was having calculated temperature, buildup areas, and normalized difference vegetation index through remote sensing and GIS techniques. The Landsat satellite data was used to differentiate the temperature in different years. These images were processed through Envi 4.7, Erdas Imagine, and ArcGIS 10.3.1. The results revealed that the maximum temperature was found up to 30.52, 35.25, 33.60, 46.73 °C; the buildup area was 23, 34, 26, 45 %; the NDVI results showed ranging from 0.224-1, 0.07-0.43, 0.201-1, 0.29-0.7 during this years. The average spatial land use temperature and buildup area increased by 1.03 and 1.9 times from 1990 to 2019. The maximum NDVI was observed during 2019, because of heavy rainfall as a result which supports promoting more greenery. With an increase in the buildup area, a significant change in the temperature of the territory was simultaneously observed. Therefore, this indicates a major task for urban developers extenuating the subsequent urban heat island occurrence. That is, for the first time it is scientifically substantiated and confirmed by the results that when creating a city development plan, it is extremely important to exclude the possibility of the urban heat island occurrence through preliminary studies. The practical value of the study lies in sound recommendations, one of which is the need for future urban development to emphasize urban plantings, including vertical forests to prevent UHI occurrence in the area of Karachi city.


R. Kotharkar, M. Surawar. Land use, land cover, and population density impact on the formation of canopy urban heat islands through traverse survey in the Nagpur urban area, India. Journal of Urban Planning and Development 142(1): 04015003 (2016).

J. Parker. The Leeds urban heat island and its implications for energy use and thermal comfort. Energy and Buildings 235: 110636 (2021).

H. Li, Y. Zhou, G. Jia, K. Zhao, and J. Dong. Quantifying the response of surface urban heat island to urbanization using the annual temperature cycle model. Geoscience Frontiers 13(1): 101141 (2022).

L. Han, L. Lu, P. Fu, C. Ren, M. Cai, and Q. Li. Exploring the seasonality of surface urban heat islands using enhanced land surface temperature in a semi-arid city. Urban Climate 49: 101455 (2023).

A. Kumar, M. Mukherjee, and A. Goswami. Inter-seasonal characterization and correlation of surface Urban Heat Island (SUHI) and Canopy Urban Heat Island (CUHI) in the urbanized environment of Delhi. Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment 100970 (2023).

S.A. Changnon. Inadvertent weather modification in urban areas: lessons or global climate change. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 73: 619–627 (1992).

M.M. Maja, and S.F. Ayano. The Impact of Population Growth on Natural Resources and Farmers’ Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change in Low-Income Countries. Earth Systems and Environment 5: 271–283 (2021).

Y. Luo, Y. Yang, S. He, M. Dou, R. Wang, T. Zhang, J. Zhao, and Wang, F. Exploring the effect of industrial structure on urban heat island effect with infrared observations. Infrared Physics & Technology 130: 104615 (2023).

J. John, G. Bindu, B. Srimuruganandam, A. Wadhwa, and P. Rajan. Land use/land cover and land surface temperature analysis in Wayanad district, India, using satellite imagery. Annals of GIS 26(4): 343–360 (2020).

A. Brazel, P. Gober, S.J. Lee, S. Grossman-Clarke, J. Zehnder, B. Hedquist, and E. Comparri. Determinants of changes in the regional urban heat island in metropolitan Phoenix (Arizona, USA) between 1990 and 2004. Climate Research 33(2): 171–182 (2007).

J.A. Voogt, and T.R. Oke. Thermal remote sensing of urban climates. Remote sensing of environment 86(3): 370–384 (2003).

A.M. Coutts, J. Beringer, and N.J. Tapper. Impact of increasing urban density on local climate: Spatial and temporal variations in the surface energy balance in Melbourne, Australia. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 46: 477 (2007).

A.M. Droste, G.J. Steeneveld, and A.A. Holtslag. Introducing the urban wind island effect. Environmental research letters 13(9): 094007 (2018).

S. Liu, K. Shi, Y. Wu, and Y. Cui. Suburban greening and suburbanization changing surface urban heat island intensity in China. Building and Environment 228: 109906 (2023).

P. Shojaei, M. Gheysari, B. Myers, S. Eslamian, E. Shafieiyoun, and H. Esmaeili. Effect of different land cover/use types on canopy layer air temperature in an urban area with a dry climate. Building and Environment 125: 451–463 (2017).

M. Arshad, K.M. Khedher, E.M. Eid, and Y.A. Aina. Evaluation of the urban heat island over Abha-Khamis Mushait tourist resort due to rapid urbanisation in Asir, Saudi Arabia. Urban Climate 36: 100772 (2021).

H. Li, Y. Zhou, G. Jia, K. Zhao, and J. Dong. Quantifying the response of surface urban heat island to urbanization using the annual temperature cycle model. Geoscience Frontiers: 101141 (2021).

K.L. Ebi, J. Vanos, J.W. Baldwin, J.E. Bell, D.M. Hondula, and N.A. Errett, P. Berry. Extreme weather and climate change: population health and health system implications. Annual Review of Public Health 42: 293–315 (2021).

P. Shahmohamadi, A.I. Che-Ani, I. Etessam, K.N.A. Maulud, and N.M. Tawil. Healthy environment: the need to mitigate urban heat island effects on human health. Procedia Engineering 20: 61–70 (2011).

D.J. Fagnant, and K.M. Kockelman. The travel and environmental implications of shared autonomous vehicles, using agent-based model scenarios. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 40: 1–13 (2014).

N. Kikon, P. Singh, S.K. Singh, and A. Vyas. Assessment of urban heat islands (UHI) of Noida City, India using multi-temporal satellite data. Sustainable Cities and Society 22: 19–28 (2016).

M. Stathopoulou, C. Cartalis, and M. Petrakis. Integrating Corine Land Cover data and Landsat TM for surface emissivity definition: application to the urban area of Athens, Greece. International Journal of Remote Sensing 28: 3291–3304 (2007).

J. Amanollahi, C. Tzanis, M.F. Ramli, and A.M. Abdullah. Urban heat evolution in a tropical area utilizing Landsat imagery. Atmospheric Research 167: 175–182 (2016).

X.L. Chen, H.M. Zhao, P.X. Li, and Z.Y. Yin. Remote sensing image-based analysis of the relationship between urban heat island and land use/cover changes. Remote sensing of environment 104(2): 133–146 (2006).

J. Li, C. Song, L. Cao, F. Zhu, X. Meng, and J. Wu. Impacts of landscape structure on surface urban heat islands: a case study of Shanghai, China. Remote Sensing of Environment 115: 3249–3263 (2011).

G. Battista, E. de Lieto Vollaro, P. Ocłoń, and R. de Lieto Vollaro. Effects of urban heat island mitigation strategies in an urban square: A numerical modelling and experimental investigation. Energy and Buildings: 112809 (2023).

A.M. Fadhil. Drought mapping using Geoinformation technology for some sites in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. International Journal of Digital Earth 4(3): 239–257 (2011).



How to Cite

Lakhan, M. A., Ambreen Afzal, Samreen Riaz Ahmed, Altaf Hussain Lahori, Muhammad Irfan, Salman Zubair, Anila Kausar, Shella Bano, Sergij Vambol, Viola Vambol, & Igor Mishchenko. (2023). Assessment of Karachi as an Urban Heat Island Threat through Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques. Proceedings of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences: B. Life and Environmental Sciences, 60(3).



Research Articles