Local Climate Zones

Stewart & Oke 2012_Page_01Until recently, there was no universal approach to describe and characterize the physical nature of cities for urban climatologists — much of the existing terminology was not transferable across cultural and geographical regions.  To address this problem, and in particular to help standardize methods of observation and documentation in urban heat island studies, Stewart and Oke (2012) developed the Local Climate Zone (LCZ) classification scheme.  The scheme comprises 17 zones based mainly on properties of surface structure (e.g., building and tree height & density) and surface cover (pervious vs. impervious).  Each zone is local in scale, meaning it represents horizontal distances of 100s of metres to several kilometres.  The scheme is a logical starting point for WUDAPT’s aim to gather consistent information across cities globally.

Stewart, I.D. and Oke, T.R.  2012.  Local Climate Zones for urban temperature studies.  Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93:  1879-1900.

Stewart, I.D., Oke, T.R., and E.S. Krayenhoff.  2014.  Evaluation of the ‘local climate zone’ scheme using temperature observations and model simulations.  International Journal of Climatology, 34:  1062-80.