Temporal dynamics of urban heat island correlated with the socio-economic development over the past half-century in Seoul, Korea

Je Woo Hong, Jinkyu Hong, Eilhann E. Kwon, D. K. Yoon

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Urban heat island (UHI), an iconic consequence of anthropogenic activities and climate condition, affects air pollution, energy use, and health. Therefore, better understanding of the temporal dynamics of UHI is required for sustainable urban planning to mitigate air pollution under a changing climate. Here, we present the evolution of UHI intensity (UHIi) and its controlling factors in the Seoul metropolitan area, Korea, over the last 56 years (1962–2017), which has experienced unique compressed economic growth and urban transformation under monsoon climate. The analysis demonstrated an inverted U-shape long-term variation of UHIi with the progress of urban transformation and economic climate which has not been reported in Asian cities before. Meanwhile, short-term variations in UHIi are related to both diurnal temperature range and duration after rainfall event unlike previous studies, and the UHIi was exacerbated by heat waves. Our findings suggest that the UHIi will exhibit different temporal dynamics with future changes in the monsoon climate, and heat waves in the urban area will be reinforced if current rapid urbanization continues without a shift toward sustainable and equitable development. Asian cities that are likely to face the similar urbanization trajectory and the implications are that urban (re)development strategy considers changes in rainfall magnitude and timing due to monsoon system variation under changing climate and plans to mitigate synergy between heat wave and UHI in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112934
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government ( MSIT ) (No. NRF-2018R1A5A1024958 ) and the Korea Polar Research Institute ( KOPRI, PN19081 ). The first author was supported by the Global Ph.D. Fellowship Program ( NRF-2015H1A2A1030932 ).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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