The surface environment and the thermal infrared information of remote sensing have been widely used to study urban
climate. In this paper, the Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) data acquired in 2008 were applied to study the relationship
between urban surface temperature and surface characteristics within the Beijing 5th ring road area of China. The thermal
band data of TM combined with classification-based surface emissivity were utilized to estimate land surface
temperature (LST). Meanwhile, surface characteristics parameters, such as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
(NDVI), the Modified Normalized Difference Water Index (MNDWI), the Normalized Difference Building Index (NDBI)
and the Normalized Difference Bareness Index (NDBaI) were calculated according to related arithmetic respectively.
The quantitative relationship between LST and NDVI, MNDWI, NDBI and NDBaI were investigated according to urban
main land use/cover types (water body, vegetation and built-up surfaces). The results showed there were negative
correlations between LST and NDVI, MNDWI for vegetation and built-up land use/cover types, positive correlations
between LST and NDBI, NDBaI for vegetation and built-up land use/cover types. In general, in the area 5th ring road of
Beijing the distribution of NDVI, MNDWI and NDBI directly defined the distribution of LST. For built-up land
use/cover type, the NDVI was small, However, NDBI and LST were high. While in the area with more water and
vegetation, the NDVI and MNDWI were high and LST was small. There were obvious correlation between LST and
urban surface characteristics.