Mitigation of urban heat stress – a modelling case study for the area of Stuttgart
AbstractIn 2050 the fraction of urban global population will increase to over 69 %, which means that around 6.3 billion people are expected to live in urban areas (UN 2011). Cities are the predominant habitation places for humans to live and are vulnerable to extreme weather events aggravating phenomena like heat stress. Finding mitigation strategies to sustain future development is of great importance, given expected influences on human health. In this study, the mesoscale numerical model WRF is used on a regional scale for the urban area of Stuttgart, to simulate the effect of urban planning strategies on dynamical processes affecting urban climate. After comparing two urban parameterisation schemes, a sensitivity study for different scenarios is performed; it shows that a change of the reflective properties of surfaces has the highest impact on near-surface temperatures compared to an increase of urban green areas or a decrease of building density. The Urban Heat Island (UHI) describes the temperature difference between urban and rural temperatures; it characterises regional urban climate and is responsible for urban-rural circulation patterns. Applying urban planning measures may decrease the intensity of the UHI in the study area by up to 2 °C by using heat-reflective roof paints or by 1 °C through replacing impervious surfaces by natural vegetation in the urban vicinity – compared to a value of 2.5 °C for the base case. Because of its topographical location in a valley and the overall high temperatures in this region, the area of Stuttgart suffers from heat stress to a comparatively large extent.
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