Global multi-model projections of local urban climates

Lei Zhao, Keith Oleson, Elie Bou-Zeid, E. Scott Krayenhoff, Andrew Bray, Qing Zhu, Zhonghua Zheng, Chen Chen, Michael Oppenheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


Effective urban planning for climate-driven risks relies on robust climate projections specific to built landscapes. Such projections are absent because of a near-universal lack of urban representation in global-scale Earth system models. Here, we combine climate modelling and data-driven approaches to provide global multi-model projections of urban climates over the twenty-first century. The results demonstrate the inter-model robustness of specific levels of urban warming over certain regions under climate change. Under a high-emissions scenario, cities in the United States, Middle East, northern Central Asia, northeastern China and inland South America and Africa are estimated to experience substantial warming of more than 4 K—larger than regional warming—by the end of the century, with high inter-model confidence. Our findings highlight the critical need for multi-model global projections of local urban climates for climate-sensitive development and support green infrastructure intervention as an effective means of reducing urban heat stress on large scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-157
Number of pages6
JournalNature Climate Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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