Local climate zone (LCZ) map accuracy assessments should account for land cover physical characteristics that affect the local thermal environment

In Remote Sensing
Volume (Issue): 11 (2)
Peer-reviewed Article

Local climate zone (LCZ) maps are increasingly being used to help understand and model the urban microclimate, but traditional land use/land cover map (LULC) accuracy assessment approaches do not convey the accuracy at which LCZ maps depict the local thermal environment. 17 types of LCZs exist, each having unique physical characteristics that affect the local microclimate. Many studies have focused on generating LCZ maps using remote sensing data, but nearly all have used traditional LULC map accuracy metrics, which penalize all map classification errors equally, to evaluate the accuracy of these maps. Here, we proposed a new accuracy assessment approach that better explains the accuracy of the physical properties (i.e., surface structure, land cover, and anthropogenic heat emissions) depicted in an LCZ map, which allows for a better understanding of the accuracy at which the map portrays the local thermal environment.