Abstract: Surface temperature (Ts) is directly related to the capacity of every ecosystem to direct energy to different heat fluxes. Vegetation with a sufficient supply of water is able to cool down the surface by enhancing the latent heat flux via evapotranspiration. We chose seven types of land covers common in a temperate agricultural landscape and used a combined method of airship thermal scanning of Ts and ground measuring of thermodynamic Ta to show their Ts and Ta (air temperature) characteristics under high solar irradiance and their consequences for local climate; simultaneously we showed that this temperature difference increases with water content. A combined method of airship thermal scanning of Ts and ground measuring of thermodynamic Ta was used. The localities differed markedly in both the values and the dynamics of Ts and Ts − Ta. In the early afternoon the difference in Ts between the different land covers reached almost 20 ◦C. Ecosystems with non-functional or no vegetation largely resembled the asphalt surface, whereas the ecosystems covered with dense, bushy or tree vegetation showed relatively well balanced daily temperature dynamics with low temperature extremes and a slow temperature morning increase or afternoon decrease. Ts − Ta atthe peaking solar irradiance ranged between −1 ◦C atthe forest and 14–17 ◦C at the dry harvested meadow and the asphalt surface respectively. We highlight the importance of Ts as a measurable indicator of ecosystem and landscape functioning and outline the importance of functional vegetation for climate. Those feedbacks between vegetation, surface temperature, water and climate are crucial in the landscape management, climate change discussions and therefore for decision makers and landscape developers.