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Towards a city-wide analysis of mean radiant temperature at high spatial resolution – An example from Berlin, Germany

Conference contribution
Authors Britta Jänicke
Fred Meier
Fredrik Lindberg
Dieter Scherer
Published in ICUC9 – 9 th International Conference on Urban Climate jointly with 12th Symposium on the Urban Environment. 20-24 July 2015, Toulouse, France
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Subject categories Climate Research, Physical Geography, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


Heat stress is expected to increase in the future due to global climate change. Many epidemiological studies show the close link between elevated air temperature and increased morbidity and mortality, which are not restricted to subtropical and tropical regions but also common in cities at higher latitudes like Berlin (52.5° N). Heat-stress risks are particularly high in urban regions, since urban climate modifications of regional weather conditions tend to increase heat-stress hazards. In order to analyse heat-stress risks and hazards within a city, the mean radiant temperature is an important variable as it sums up long- and short-wave radiation that reaches the human body. Thus, the mean radiant temperature along with air temperature, atmospheric humidity and wind speed is used for the calculation of many biometeorological indices. In urban environments mean radiant temperature is highly variable due to the shadow patterns of objects. To calculate the mean radiant temperature, urban structures such as trees, bushes, courtyards, street canyons and buildings need to be parameterized or explicitly included. The former reduces the computation demand, but limits the possibility to derive planning measures to reduce heat stress. In addition, weather and climate influence the variability of the mean radiant temperature, because the atmospheric conditions are heterogeneous in large urban areas. Therefore, the aim of this study is to calculate the mean radiant temperature for the case of Berlin while considering both micro-scale urban structures and meso-scale atmospheric conditions. For the computation of the mean radiant temperature we apply a version of the SOLWEIG model (Lindberg et al. 2011) that is able to use gridded meteorological input data. Digital surface models of buildings and vegetation with a spatial resolution of 1m provide the height of the micro-scale urban structures. The Central Europe Refined analysis (CER) serves as input for meso-scale atmospheric conditions. We will discuss the resulting spatio-temporal pattern of the mean radiant temperature in view of the applied methodology as well as regarding actions to reduce heat stress.

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