Open Urban Climate Observatory Berlin for environmental research and applications

Berlin's population has increased significantly over the last decade and is now one of the EU's most populated cities. Urban growth comes at a price including contrasting changes in urban climate compared to the rural surrounding. Negative effects influencing health conditions of urban population follow and are enhanced by climate change, e.g. trends in heat wave occurrence and duration. The urban spatial heterogeneity leads to a distinct variation in climatic variables, which require observations at much higher spatial resolution than traditional networks can deliver at reasonable cost and effort. This calls for inclusion of citizen science into weather observation. We thus address the "Open Science" line of the call and implement an urban citizen observation network run by, e.g. allotment gardeners. In a co-creation approach, citizens together with academics develop research questions with respect to urban climate, design and run a study to generate ideas for applications, e.g. a digital assistant using open forecast data from the German Meteorological Service. Additionally, in a co-production setting, a very high-resolution urban rainfall and air temperature data set for academic and non-academic use is generated. Basis for both approaches are 100 atmospheric measurement devices to be assembled and deployed by citizens delivering live data to their web browsers. The existing setup has been successfully used in previous projects at FU. Pursuing FAIR standards, resulting data products are integrated in the "Open Urban Climate Observatory" (OpenUCO) Berlin and innovative tools, e.g. executable papers, are applied as new means of reproducible science. Social media, video and audio podcasts are used as communication tools to reach the general public. OpenUCO and the citizens' weather station network are the nucleus of further BUA citizen science projects addressing urban climate, health and further interdisciplinary questions.


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