Working Hypothesis

The following major working hypotheses are underlying the entire research concept:

  1. We reanalyse the atmospheric processes relevant to heat stress within the analysis period, i.e., the decade from 2001 to 2010, by the model-based framework at sufficient accuracy. We assume that we will be able to quantify subsequent heat-stress hazards and risks. For risk assessment we are using risk-related data sets comprehensively available for Berlin for the same period. Scenario-based projections of urban climate change and urban development paths will further enable us to provide insights into possible future heat-stress hazards and risks to which mid-latitude cities like Berlin may be exposed in the decade from 2041 to 2050. Urban development paths will not only comprise spatial patterns of land cover/use but also reflect technological and non-technological aspects.

  2. There are numerous effective technical and non-technical actions available for reducing heat-stress risks in mid-latitude cities, which need, however, to be carefully designed and combined to be efficient. Structural, spatial and societal patterns of vulnerability to heat stress require specific combination of actions, e.g. air conditioning of patient rooms in hospitals or residence buildings for senior people, or restructuring city quarters of low-quality buildings inhabited by people exposed to income deprivation.

We expect that climate change will increase heat-stress hazards and risks for the city population. Actions for reducing heat-stress risks will form important elements of adaptation strategies to climate change. Unfortunately, the most effective actions for reducing heat-stress risks are based on active technologies like air conditioning causing additional greenhouse gas emissions. By combining non-technical actions in the domains of urban/environmental planning and politics with optimised use of urban/building green and new passive building technologies, synergies between adaptation and mitigation actions would enable effectively and efficiently tackling heat-stress problems strengthened by climate change in cities. New, energy-efficient active technologies will also be of major interest in this respect if they could be scalable to different building sizes, functions and designs, and would be economically attractive. Successful implementation of actions demands considering the complex constellations of actors.

Quick Contact

Prof. Dr. Dieter Scherer (TUB)
Prof. Dr. Tobia Lakes (HUB)
Dr. Ute Fehrenbach (TUB)
Dr. Fred Meier (TUB)


Map of our observations:
UCaHS Observation Network
Latest Publication:
Jänicke, B., F. Meier, D. Fenner, U. Fehrenbach, A. Holtmann, D. Scherer (2016): Urban-rural differences in near-surface air temperature as resolved by the Central Europe Refined analysis (CER): sensitivity to planetary boundary layer schemes and urban canopy models. International Journal of Climatology, 37 (4):2063-2079.
Mahlkow, N. and J. Donner (2016): From Planning to Implementation? The Role of Climate Change Adaptation Plans to Tackle Heat Stress. A Case Study of Berlin, Germany. Journal of Planning Education and Research 1-12.