DFG Research Unit 1736
Urban Climate and Heat Stress in mid-latitude cities in view of climate change (UCaHS)

DFG Research Unit UCaHS

The DFG Research Unit UCaHS ended in December 2016. UCaHS addressed the complex scientific questions related to heat stress in mid-latitude cities by a multi- and interdisciplinary approach involving climatologists, urban geographers and hydrologists, physicians, architects, physicists and engineers, urban planners and social scientists.

The causal chains spanning from climate modifications by urban regions to out- and indoor heat stress hazards were analysed in detail for the example of Berlin. Heat-stress risks were studied by available observational data, in particular for specifically vulnerable groups of senior people or patients in hospitals.

In contrast to other mid-latitude cities in sub-tropical climates, air conditioning of buildings is not yet common in Berlin, such that heat-stress risks are still closely coupled to urban weather and climate. Demographic and economic developments, combined with changing urban climates, may, however, result in more installations of air-conditioning systems if no other options for reducing heat-stress hazards would become available at feasible costs. Actions for reducing heat-stress risks in mid-latitude cities were studied with respect to their effectiveness in reducing the risks, either by reducing the hazard or the vulnerability. UCaHS analysed side effects determining the efficiency of the respective actions. In particular, actions for modifying building designs and technologies including building green, and for modifying urban patterns including open spaces and urban green were studied. We have thus been able to identify those actions creating synergies between adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, or generate co-benefits in other societal fields. Implementation of actions requires in-depth knowledge of constellations, particularly of actors, influencing urban development. Without considering these constellations implementation of actions may not be possible even when the actions themselves would be effective and efficient.

Project members:

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Dieter Scherer (TUB)
Coordination: Dr. Ute Fehrenbach (TUB) Dr. Fred Meier (TUB)
Research Module 1: Outdoor-climate and heat-stress hazard
Regional climate: Prof. Dr. Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe (formerly at HUB/PIK) and Dr. Susanne Grossman-Clarke (formerly scientist at PIK)
Urban climate: Prof. Dr. Dieter Scherer (TUB)
Research Module 2: Indoor-climate and heat-stress hazard
Indoor observations: Prof. Dr. Wilfried Endlicher (HUB)
Indoor simulations: Prof. Dr. Christoph Nytsch-Geusen (UDK)
Research Module 3: Vulnerability to heat stress
Medical Vulnerability: Prof. Dr. Christian Witt (Charité)
Urban Vulnerability: Prof. Dr. Tobia Lakes (HUB)
Research Module 4: Climate responsive buildings
Building green: Prof. Dr. Gerd Wessolek (TUB)
Building designs: Prof. Claus Steffan (TUB)*
Building technologies: Prof. Dr. Felix Ziegler (TUB)
Research Module 5: Urban system
Constellations: Prof. Dr. Johann Köppel (TUB) and Prof. Dr. Miranda Schreurs (formerly FUB, left to TU Munich)
Urban patterns: Prof. Dr. Birgit Kleinschmit (TUB)

* associated member

Postal address:

Fachgebiet Klimatologie
Institut für Ökologie
TU Berlin
Rothenburgstraße 12
D-12165 Berlin



Elke Thiessenhusen

room: AB1-110
opening hours:
Monday - Thursday
9am - 2pm
Tel: +49-(0)30-314-73195
Fax: +49-(0)30-314-71355


UCaHS Homepage

Knowledge Base UCaHS (restricted access)
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