Human-caused climate change presents significant risks to cities beyond the familiar risks caused by natural variations in climate and seasonal weather patterns. Both types of risk require sustained attention from city governments in order to improve urban resilience. One of the foundations for effective adaptation planning is to co-develop plans with stakeholders and scientists who can provide urban-scale information about climate risks—both current risks and projections of future changes in extreme events.
Weather and climate forecasts of daily, weekly, and seasonal patterns and extreme events are already widely used at international, national, and regional scales. These forecasts demonstrate the value of climate science information that is communicated clearly and in a timely way. Climate change projections perform the same functions on longer timescales. These efforts now need to be carried out on the city scale.
Within cities, various neighborhoods experience different microclimates. Therefore, urban monitoring networks are needed to address the unique challenges such as urban heat island, poor air quality, and impacts of extreme climate effects at neighborhood scales. The observations collected through such urban monitoring networks can be used as a key component of a citywide climate indicators and monitoring system that enables decision-makers to understand the variety of climate risks across the city landscape.