Climate modelling: Community initiative tackles urban heat

Journal name:
Date published:
Published online

A community-driven initiative is amassing data on urban form and function to help cities worldwide to develop their own heat-adaptation plans (see Nature 524, 402404; 2015). It is called the World Urban Database and Access Portal Tools (WUDAPT;

Urban experts use freely available Landsat satellite imagery to create and study local climate zones across their city (see also B. Wake Nature Clim. Change 2, 487; 2012). Citizen scientists gather information on building materials and function, landscape morphology and vegetation types.

These extensive open-access WUDAPT data will provide a standardized characterization of the world's major cities and detailed input data for urban climate models. City planners and climate modellers will be equipped with accurate boundary conditions for investigating a range of mitigation and adaptation scenarios. Other applications include modelling the effects of changes to the energy infrastructure and improving the assessment of greenhouse-gas emissions through better calculations.

Author information


  1. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria.

    • Linda See
  2. University College Dublin, Ireland.

    • Gerald Mills
  3. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA.

    • Jason Ching

Corresponding author

Correspondence to:

Author details

Additional data