The Middle East is an area characterized by strong gradients in meteorological conditions and varied land cover. As a result, some of the hottest places in the world as well as very cold areas can be found in this region. The objective of this paper is to quantitatively assess land surface temperature (LST) variations in the countries of the Middle East to estimate the trends and determine whether relationships suggesting the impact of climate change can be observed. Spatiotemporal variability of LST was investigated through the analysis of MODIS Terra LST images (MOD11A2) from 2001 to 2018. The LST differences in both daytime series and seasonal and international means were assessed. The analyses showed that in spring (MAM), about 20,000 km2 of the study area has an LST higher than 50 °C, whereas 3700 km2 has LST lower than 0 °C. In summer (JJA), about 1 million km2 has LST higher than 50 °C. In the fall (SON), about 5 million km2 of the study area has a land surface temperature higher than 30 °C, with about 11 km2 hotter than 50 °C, whereas 320 km2 has LST lower than 0 °C. In winter (DJF), the hottest countries are Yemen, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, with 44.7, 41.8, and 39.8 °C, respectively, whereas the lowest LST values were recorded in Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, with −19.5, −18.1, and −10.5 °C, respectively. An upward trend in the minimum and a downward trend in the maximum value of the winter LST suggest that winters in the Middle East countries such as Iran, Israel, and Jordan have become milder during the considered period. Negative trends in the spring LST in Bahrain and Oman and the summer LST in Bahrain and Qatar suggest that these seasons in those countries became colder during the study period.
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- daytime LST
- remote sensing
- The Middle East
- time series analysis