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Pan-European Urban Climate Services

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Climate-fit.City (Pan-European Urban Climate Services)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2020-02-29

Urban areas are very vulnerable to climate change impacts, because of the high concentration of people, infrastructure, and economic activity, but also because cities tend to exacerbate climate extremes such as heat waves and flash floods. In addition, the ongoing urban expansion and the ageing of the urban population makes them particularly vulnerable. European cities are home to about 75% of the population, projected to grow to 80% in 2050.

Climate change leads to more frequent and intense heat waves. Heat waves are ‘silent killers’, claiming more victims than any other weather-related disaster. The European heat wave of 2003 was particularly severe, leading to an estimated 70,000 premature deaths. Apart from impacting health, extreme heat also adversely affects energy consumption, city tourism, and infrastructure, e.g. causing steel railway tracks to buckle, and damaging concrete and asphalt roads.
With respect to water, the abundance of impermeable surfaces in cities leads to inundations that are often far more intense than those occurring in rural areas, damaging property and infrastructure, and causing economic losses arising from disrupted transportation. Furthermore, cities are experiencing increasing densities with hard impermeable surface, which in combination with the climate change projected increase in extreme precipitation, will further increase urban flooding impacts from extreme precipitation.

The objective of the Climate-fit.City project was to establish a sustainable service that translates the best available scientific urban climate data into relevant information for public and private end-users operating in cities. This has been achieved by demonstrating the benefits of urban climate information to relevant end user communities, considering services in diverse domains (Climate and Health, Building Energy, Emergency Planning, Urban Planning, Active Mobility, Tourism and Cultural Heritage) to improve decision-making and to help end users to better address the consequences of climate change at the local scale. Climate-fit.City aimed at a genuine market uptake of urban climate services, based on a distributed network of local business intermediaries throughout Europe, enhancing the awareness for urban climate-related issues in the end-user community, and converting (mature) research results into tailored added-value information, thus removing important barriers for the deployment of urban climate services. Three major customer groups have been identified: urban administrations, territorial entities and private/commercial entities delivering services to cities/towns.
The Climate-fit.City urban climate services are:

• Climate & Health: the climate and health service assesses heat related mortality risks within urban areas. Demonstrator are available for Barcelona (https://aspb.shinyapps.io/climate-fit-city-en/) and London (https://londonheat.shinyapps.io/climate-fit-city/).
• Building Energy: the SME Meteotest enhanced its Meteonorm software (https://meteonorm.com/en) to account for urban climate conditions. Meteonorm provides climate information as input to building energy use and indoor comfort models.
• Emergency Planning: the emergency planning service delivers improved spatial knowledge about and insight in modified extreme weather conditions and related consequences, as input to set up a climate-proof city emergency plan for extreme rainfall and pluvial flood related disasters. The service was demonstrated for Antwerp and Tirana.
• Urban Planning: the urban planning service focuses on the influence of the urban land use structures on the level and spatial distribution of heat stress in urban areas. Through modification of the input-land-use-layer, various city-development scenarios can be simulated online (https://urban-tep.eu/puma/tool). Demonstration cases have been worked out for Prague, Ostrava, Hodonin and Dhaka.
• Active Mobility: the active mobility service provides city-specific analyses and cycling-tailored climate information to support climate-inclusive bicycle traffic planning. The SME Bike Citizens enhanced its Analytics service platform (https://cyclingdata.net/) with climate information for Vienna, Bremen and Berlin.
• Cultural Heritage: An online web platform that shows for selected touristic sites information about the expected heat stress, air quality and weather situation based on an existing weather forecast system combined with historical urban climate information (https://climate-fit.soprintendenzaspecialeroma.it/area).
• Tourism: the tourism service provides touristic sites with overall climate information, high-resolution heat stress data and climate change actionable insights on energy and water use. It was demonstrated for the Antwerp Zoo (https://kmda.climate-fit.city/).

The urban services integrate urban climate data that is downscaled from large-scale climate data (e.g. Copernicus Climate Change Service, EURO-CORDEX). An online free distribution platform (https://dataplatform.climate-fit.city/) contains all project urban climate data.
"Advance beyond the state-of-the-art - Even though the focus of Climate-fit.City was largely on demonstration and market development, results from the sectoral demonstration and replication cases have been published inside scientific journals, including peer-reviewed journals.

The socio-economic impact assessment revealed that potential impacts by the climate services are diversified and depend on the specificities of the case. It has been found that diverse actual and potential added values exist in terms of public service effectiveness, economic impacts, policy impacts, and raising awareness impacts (e.g. improve bike paths by accommodating climate needs, increase bike use and reduced carbon emissions, reduction of deaths attributable to heat waves and health cost reduction, support a revision of existing building and built environment policies, improve communication around heat-related issues, updating building policies and standards at national and local level, better allocate emergency flooding equipment, support zoo management in properly managing of energy investments, …) .

Innovation potential - Currently, applications requiring urban climate information too often rely on data that are by no means representative of actual urban climate conditions. Climate-fit.City can be considered a game changer in this respect, for the first time bringing results of the best available urban climate research to the end-users for a wide range of urban sectors. At the end of the project, the Climate-fit.City website has been transformed into an service website and a collaboration agreement is established between the project partners to continue Climate-fit.City operations. Commercial applications have already been collected during the project.

Finally, the mission of the Climate-fit.City exploitation is: “The Climate-fit.City partners want to help cities and urbanized regions manage current and future climate impacts. The project works together with city officials to gather and integrate climate data to get a clear view of specific local challenges and co-design solutions to them. The Climate-fit team helps cities plan their adaptation and mitigation strategies, guides them through the process and helps them evaluate the results. They also support stakeholder engagement and have expertise in communicating climate impacts to citizens."""