07 Apr 2022
07 Apr 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

A global map of Local Climate Zones to support earth system modelling and urban scale environmental science

Matthias Demuzere1, Jonas Kittner1, Alberto Martilli2, Gerald Mills3, Christian Moede1, Iain D. Stewart4, Jasper van Vliet5, and Benjamin Bechtel1 Matthias Demuzere et al.
  • 1Urban Climatology Group, Department of Geography, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
  • 2Environmental Department, CIEMAT, Spain
  • 3School of Geography, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  • 4Global Cities Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 5Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081, HV, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Abstract. There is a scientific consensus on the need for spatially detailed information on urban landscapes at a global scale. This data can support a range of environmental services, as cities are acknowledged as places of intense resource consumption and waste generation and foci of population and infrastructure that are exposed to multiple hazards of natural and anthropogenic origin. In the face of climate change, urban data is also required to explore future urbanisation pathways and urban design strategies, in order to lock in long-term resilience and sustainability, protecting cities from future decisions that could undermine their adaptability. To serve this purpose, we present a 100 m resolution global map of Local Climate Zones (LCZs), an universal urban typology that can distinguish urban areas on a holistic basis, accounting for the typical combination of micro-scale land-covers and associated physical properties. The global LCZ map, composed of 10 built and 7 natural land cover types, is generated by feeding an unprecedented amount of labelled training areas and earth observation imagery into lightweight random forest models. Its quality is assessed using a bootstrap cross validation alongside a thematic benchmark for 150 selected functional urban areas using independent global and open-source data on surface cover, surface imperviousness, building height, and anthropogenic heat. As each LCZ type is associated with generic numerical descriptions of key urban canopy parameters that regulate atmospheric responses to urbanisation, the availability of this globally consistent and climate-relevant urban description is an important prerequisite for supporting model development and creating evidence-based climate-sensitive urban planning policies. This dataset can be downloaded from (Demuzere et al., 2022a).

Matthias Demuzere et al.

Status: open (until 02 Jun 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-92', Anonymous Referee #1, 05 May 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2022-92', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 May 2022 reply

Matthias Demuzere et al.

Data sets

Teaser Local Climate Zone maps extracted from the global map of Local Climate Zones Matthias Demuzere, Jonas Kittner, Alberto Martilli, Gerald Mills, Christian Moede, Iain D. Stewart, Jasper van Vliet, Benjamin Bechtel

Global map of Local Climate Zones Matthias Demuzere, Jonas Kittner, Alberto Martilli, Gerald Mills, Christian Moede, Iain D. Stewart, Jasper van Vliet, Benjamin Bechtel

Matthias Demuzere et al.


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Short summary
Because urban areas are key contributors to climate change yet are also susceptible to multiple hazards, one needs spatially detailed information on urban landscapes to support environmental services. This global Local Climate Zones map describes this much-needed intra-urban heterogeneity across the whole surface of the Earth in an universal language, and can serve as a basic infrastructure to study e.g. environmental hazards, energy demand, and climate adaptation and mitigation solutions.