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Urban heat island (UHI) project

The urban heat island is a major feature of large cities and influences the regional weather and climate and the living conditions. Options for adaptation and mitigation are the topics of this project.

 The UHI project was funded via the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union in the framework of the Central Europe program under no. 3CE292P3.


The UHI project brings together 18 partners under the leadership of the Regional Agency for Environmental Protection in Emilia-Romagna (Italy). The other partners are the Region of Emilia Romagna, the Veneto Region and the Consortium for Coordination of Research Activities Concerning the Venice Lagoon System (Italy), the Department of Atmospheric Environmental Research, Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Municipality of Stuttgart and the University of Freiburg (Germany), the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy Of Sciences, Warsaw and the Nofer Institute of Occupational Health, Lodz (Poland), the Institute of Architectural Sciences, Department of Building Physics and Building Ecology, Vienna University of Technology and the Municipal Department 22 in Vienna (Austria), the Hungarian Meteorological Service, the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague, the City Development Authority of Prague and the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (Czech Republic), the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana and the Municipality of Ljubljana (Slovenia).


Project information can be found on the UJI project webpage and in an article on pages 10 - 12 of the March 2012 IAUC Newsletter no. 43.

The Urban Heat Island (UHI) is an issue due to the fact that meanwhile more than half of mankind are living in urban areas. UHI, which is a major feature of large cities, is interrelated to air quality, climate, and risks. It is part of a regional flow system which alters the transport and dispersion of pollutants in the city and in its surroundings. UHI can be investigated by a combined use of measurements and modelling. Surface-based remote sensing (, ceilometer, RASS, wind lidar) gives insight in the height of the UHI, its vertical structure and flow features, and the pollutant distributions within it. Measured vertical profiles of turbulence intensity are closely related to vertical transports of pollutants. Simulations with the regional meteorology-atmospheric chemistry model WRF-Chem were performed to assess the impact of the UHI on air chemistry.


Effect of UHI mitigation measures on air quality

Scenario simulations with WRF-Chem: Absolute difference between scenario run and base case for simulated mean CO (a) and ozone (b) concentrations [ppb] in the lowest model level for a scanario with white roofs (left) and a scenario with a park in the center of the city (right).




Contacts: Stefan Emeis, Joachim Fallmann