Urban environments are at more risk from climate change. This is a problem, as more than half of the world's population live in cities. VITO helps cities to cope with the challenges by means of various urban climate services.
Cities in danger
In cities, mercury rises far more than it does in rural environments. This phenomenon is referred to as the Urban Heat Island. These extra degrees will become an increasing problem given the global climate change. It could also result in a fall in productivity, an increasing demand for cooling systems and a peak in the mortality rate of individuals in poor health during heat waves.
UrbClim looks at cities
Because most information about climate information and the corresponding adjustment plan is only available on a global or regional scale, many local bodies are left with questions about the condition of their cities. Given the above, VITO developed the UrbClim computer model with support from the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA). It simulates urban heat island intensity. We use it to accurately calculate the air temperature per hour for a whole city – and are able to do this easily for periods of 20 years.
Urban climate services
VITO has used the expertise it has gained in relation to urban heat islands and the UrbClim model to offer clients a series of urban climate services (new window):
Urban climate assessments: a full climate assessment of your city, which may consist of an on-site monitoring campaign and an UrbClim model showing the hot spots.
Short-term forecasts: you receive city maps of the urban heat island intensity expected or of other heat stress indicators for the next several days. This information is useful for awareness or warning campaigns.
Future climate projections: by making the very best use of the possibilities that UrbClim offers us, we discover how global climate change will influence individual cities.
Adaptation scenarios and impact assessments: UrbClim enables you to discover how 'greening' or other changes affect your urban climate. The model will also tell you where new hot spots will arise and how to avoid them.
For a detailed overview of these services, please see: urbClim website
The UrbClim model is the result of protracted development. Today, it has already been used successfully in cities like Bogota, Paris, London and Berlin. To achieve the above, our experts work with experts from the World Health Organisation, the London School of Economics, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Together, we hope to identify the impact of climate change at urban level in detail and we also want to develop cost-benefit analyses of an extensive series of adjustment measures.