Bremen, 17 November 2021. Europe's metropolitan areas are increasingly suffering from the effects of climate change. Prolonged heat waves pose a threat to the health of the population. To counter this threat, it is important to understand its causes and identify suitable countermeasures in good time. For this reason, the EU is funding the project "Next Generation City Climate Services Using Advanced Weather Models and Emerging Data Sources", or CityCLIM for short, as part of its Horizon 2020 programme. The aim of the project is to develop a cloud-based platform that provides various weather and climate services specifically for metropolitan areas based on data from weather models, Earth observation and ground measurements. The project is being implemented by a consortium of companies in collaboration with scientific working groups and four European pilot cities. OHB System AG, a subsidiary of the space and technology group OHB SE, is acting as project coordinator.
Heat waves are a major problem for densely populated areas
As a result of climate change, heat waves are occurring with increasing frequency. Especially densely populated areas are strongly affected by high temperatures, as the heat usually lasts longer and temperatures hardly drop even at night. For this reason, the health burden caused by heat is significantly higher in cities than in surrounding areas. This is why the CityCLIM project aims to develop a weather forecast model tailored to the needs of large cities. Unlike conventional forecast models, whose resolution is usually in the range of several kilometres, the new model will have a resolution of one hundred by one hundred meters. In addition, the model will combine data from weather satellites with measurements from the air and information collected on the ground. Data sources to be integrated include existing services of the European Earth observation programme Copernicus and information provided by the population itself.
Weather and climate services for the general public
The calculations made with the improved model will be made available to the general public in the form of various weather and climate services. Further services are also planned specifically for city councils and other authorities. These should make it possible, among other things, to examine the effect of urban planning measures in response to climate change. In this context, for example, the analysis of the impact of green spaces and water bodies on the urban climate is considered.
Implementation by European consortium
Several European companies are involved in implementing the project, including four from the OHB Group: OHB System is acting as the project coordinator and is responsible for processing and providing the space-based Earth observation data. OHB Digital Connect will use an airborne system to validate the calculated model predictions with thermal infrared measurement data. OHB Digital Services is responsible for the development of the cloud-based data platform in which all input data will be consolidated and subsequently made available as City Climate Services. The implementation of service demonstrations in the four selected pilot cities is being organised by OHB Digital Solutions from Austria.
Other industrial and academic partners include the Institut für angewandte Systemtechnik Bremen GmbH (ATB), which is responsible for the technical coordination of the project together with OHB and is also supporting the development of the cloud-based data platform. Meteologix AG, a subsidiary of Kachelmann GmbH, is responsible for developing the high-resolution weather model and providing the precise weather forecasts. Another scientific partner is the Global Change Unit of the University of Valencia, which will contribute novel data processing methods. Also part of the project is the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research from Leipzig, which will develop methods to incorporate data collected by the population.
Four European pilot cities as partners
In order to make the envisaged weather and climate services as application-oriented as possible, the CityCLIM project will also be carried out in close cooperation with four pilot cities. These are Karlsruhe in Germany, the city of Luxembourg, Valencia in Spain and Thessaloniki in Greece. The cities are contributing to the project by defining their specific requirements for the City Climate Services and the data platform, supporting the provision of data and enabling the project results to be validated in a real environment.
OHB project coordinator Dr Stephan Holsten is pleased that the European Commission has selected the CityCLIM project and is funding it with five million euros: "As a consortium, we were able to submit a strong proposal. Together with the recently established Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) of the European Commission, we are now getting down to work and will be creating a technical basis for combating the negative effects of climate change in cities. For OHB, the CityCLIM project is a further building block in our strategy to make greater use of Earth observation data and develop application-oriented services."
The project already started on 1 October 2021 and will now be implemented over a period of 36 months in total.