Researchers from our Summer in the City project have placed over 30 small weather stations in Amsterdam to measure temperature and humidity in the city center. The weather stations are powered by solar panels and contain measurement instruments and a communication device to send the data directly to the researchers.
Summer in the City aims to provide a better, more detailed picture of weather in the city. Urban weather is different than in the countryside. Cities experience a so-called urban heat island effect and are typically warmer than their surroundings. This is becoming more and more relevant as urbanization continues and an enhanced frequency of warm episodes is expected due to the changing global climate. These developments may increase human health risks. For example, the 2003 European heat wave led to a health crisis in several European countries and 70.000 heat-related deaths. The situation is especially worrying for vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and people with health issues, but affects the work productivity and well-being of us all. If we want to keep life in the city comfortable in the future, a better understanding of urban weather and climate is essential.
Weather station, 't IJ, Amsterdam. Photo: Bert Heusinkveld
Summer in the City develops a novel prototype hourly forecasting system for human thermal comfort in urban areas on street level (~ 100 m scale). The forecasting system can be exploited by weather and health agencies for urban weather forecasting and heat wave warnings. More knowledge will be gained on the spatial variability of microclimates within cities, which can assist governmental agencies in decision making processes concerning public health and the environment. It will also be useful for designing or redesigning neighborhoods and cities, and thus for improving the livability of the city during hot summer weather.