Research » Projects


COST CA20108 - FAIR NEtwork of micrometeorological measurements

The current state of weather-induced agricultural losses, water use for irrigation, the appearance of new invasive species and disease vectors, new environmental zoning of plant diseases and pests, deforestation, increased urbanization, rural-to-urban migration and increased urban energy consumption for cooling/heating impose scientific and societal challenges that can be supported by a micrometeorological knowledge share platform in order to provide: 

a) an inventory of available and quality proven micrometeorological in situ data sets on the European level and beyond, 

b) measurement and data management recommendations designed in order to meet FAIR principles and avoid temporal and spatial gaps, 

c) examples of rural and urban FAIR data sets and

d) Q&A exchanged between COST Action members, stakeholders, specialized user groups and the general public.

The COST FAIRNESS action intends to improve standardization and integration between databases/sets of micrometeorological measurements that are part of research projects or local/regional observational networks established for special purposes (agrometeorology, urban microclimate monitoring).

Duration: 2021-2026

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CORDEX project: URBan environments and Regional Climate Change (URB-RCC)

The main goal of this CORDEX Flagship Pilot Studies (FPS) project is to understand the effect of urban areas on the regional climate, as well as the impact of regional climate change on cities, with the help of coordinated experiments with urbanized RCMs. This clearly complies with the first CORDEX FPS criterion to address regional to local scales problems and effects with local impacts, which cannot be addressed by the GCMs and is not included in the standard CORDEX framework.

The proposed activities require the specific data, both for specific land-use parameterization and the observational data, which are available from the previous campaigns, to make the expected simulations and their validation complying with the second CORDEX FPS criterion. This FPS action can be supported by – and contributing to – Special IPCC Assessment Report planned for cities after AR6, WCRP Grand Challenges – Weather and Climate Extremes – on local scale, and SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) on sustainable cities (#11), climate action (#13) and health (#3), providing information for risk management in these aspects to urban stakeholders, which corresponds to the third CORDEX FPS criterion. As for the fourth criterion, urbanization is important for many groups participating in CORDEX activities and going across the CORDEX domains as big cities appear in each of them. Clearly, careful selection of targeted coordinated simulations have to be performed.

Duration: 2021-2025 

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BCC: Balneário Camboriú Climate Project

A Brazilian research project (2019-2026) that studies the interaction between the (vertical) urban development in Balneário Camboriú (the “Brazilian Dubai”) and its micro-climatic environment, via the following research priorities:

  1. determination of local climatic zones
  2. exploring the genesis, intensity, frequency, duration and spatialization of the urban heat island
  3. evaluation of human thermal comfort in open spaces
  4. monitoring of particulate matter suspended in the urban atmosphere 
  5. occurrence of extreme precipitation events that occurred and urban vulnerability
  6. projection of future microclimatic scenarios 

This project is lead by Prof. Dr. Cássio Arthur Wollmann (Federal University of Santa Maria, UFSM), in collaboration with Prof. Dr. João Paulo Assis Gobo (the Federal University of Rondônia, UNIR), Prof. Dr. Júlio Barboza Chiquetto (Institute for Advanced Studies / Global Cities Program, IEA-USP), Dr. Salman Shooshtarian (Research Fellow School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia), Davi Hanel Rotilli Junior (Federal University of Santa Catarina) and Dr. Matthias Demuzere (Ruhr-University Bochum).

More information:, page 15.


Urban Plumber

A multi-model, multi-site benchmarking evaluation project for urban areas

  •  An international community-based effort, 2020-present. 

Previous urban surface model evaluation projects have assessed how model complexity affects performance at two urban sites (Grimmond et al., 2010, 2011), and how coupled surface-atmosphere simulations differ from offline simulations (Steeneveld et al., 2017). In non-urban landscapes, the PLUMBER project introduced a framework for benchmarking models across many sites (Best et al., 2015). 

Building on these methods, Urban-PLUMBER will ask:

  1. How have the last decade of model development affected performance?
  2. Where do different modelling approaches excel across the urbanised/vegetated continuum?
  3. How does more detailed morphology information affect model performance? 
  4. Are models utilising available meteorological information effectively? 

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ENablig the anaLysIs of Global urban HeaT, 2020 - present

The overreaching goal of the project is to develop a consistent and generic methodology that enables globally consistent analysis of urban heat islands worldwide. This is done via satellite earth observation and crowdsourcing.

  • ENLIGHT addresses both the global urban data gap and its integration into climate management at global, regional and urban scales.

In the first phase ENLIGHT develops a consistent urban database that includes land-cover, urban climate effects and the exploration of policy-relevant modelling capacities. It builds up on existing research strengths and international links.

ENLIGHT creates four main components 

  • A global urban database for climate studies
  • An extensive database on the urban thermal effect (the urban heat island, UHI, i.e. canopy layer UHI and surface UHI)
  • An assessment of the intra and inter urban heat island variation in relation to context, meteorology and topography
  • Evaluation of an urban modelling tool that enables policy and planning

The in content, scale and extent consistent urban database is closely linked to the World Urban Database and Access Portal Tool WUDAPT. Its co-design can lead to synergies and increased functionality, resulting in an up-scaling of urban climate solutions.


ESA Climate Change Initiative Land Surface Temperature Project (Phase 1)

The ESA Climate Change Initiative (CCI) aims to realize the full potential of the long-term global Earth Observation archives that ESA has established over the past 30 years, as a significant and timely contribution to the ECV databases required by UNFCCC. The goal of the CCI Land Surface Temperature Project (LST_cci) is to provide an accurate view of temperatures across land surfaces globally over the past 20 to 25 years and meet the requirements of Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) for climate applications by developing techniques to merge archived data from a variety of satellites into a combined long-term satellite record for climate.

Within LST_cci, RUB performs one of the User Case Studies (UCS) with the purpose to provide feedback to the Science Team about the performance of the LST_cci products. RUB’s UCS is concerned with the temporal behavior of Surface Urban Heat Islands across the globe using satellite data from ATSR-2, -3 and MODIS.

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The World Urban Database and Access Portal Tools Project

  • An international community-based effort, 2016-present.

The World Urban Database and Access Portal Tools project is a bottom-up initiative to collect data on the form and function of cities around the world. The impact of cities on the climate at urban, regional and global scales is a topic of considerable debate. Much of the relevant research to date has been focused on mapping urban centers using demographic and administrative information, often supplemented by remote sensing. However, these data provide no information on the internal make-up of cities, which is important for understanding their impact on the environment as well as their vulnerability to change. The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) notes the dearth of information on urban areas. The goals of WUDAPT are

  • 1) to acquire and make accessible coherent and consistent descriptions and information on form and function of urban morphology relevant to climate, weather, and environment studies on a worldwide basis and
  • 2) to provide a portal with tools that extract relevant urban parameters and properties for models and for model applications at appropriate scales for various climate, weather, environment, and urban planning purposes.

Its guiding principle is to generate “fit for purpose” urban data using a globally consistent methodology using available, publicly accessible input data and tools. Products created from this process are shared across multiple communities and platforms.

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Climate extremes in the lake Victoria Basin

  • Supported by World Climate Research Programme (WRCP), CORDEX endorsed flagship pilot study, 2018-2022.

The Lake Victoria Basin (LVB) in East Africa is very vulnerable to extreme weather events, like heavy precipitation, heat waves, droughts and wind storms. CORDEX Flagship Pilot Study (FPS) “ELVIC – climate Extremes in the Lake VICtoria basin” is an internationally coordinated program that brings together different regional climate models at convection permitting scale, performed by different research groups. Together, they want to answer following questions

  • (i) Are moist convective systems in Equatorial Africa better represented by convection permitting models (CPMs) compared to models that rely on a parametrization of convection?
  • (ii) How can we best combine information of CMIP and CORDEX-Africa with CPM (climate change) integrations?
  • (iii) How will extreme weather events evolve in the future in the LVB?
  • (iv) How can improved probabilistic information on convective extremes be used by the impact community?

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Single-column Urban Boundary Layer Inter-comparison Model Experiment

  • This project is an international community effort, partly supported by ileaps (Integrated land ecosystem atmosphere processes studies), 2017-2022.

Urbanization is omnipresent which means that urban environmental forecasts are of great interest, especially for urban heat islands and air quality. Models representing urban areas within numerical weather prediction needs to be developed and evaluated. Urban canopy models have so far mainly be evaluated in offline mode, ignoring the possible interactions with the atmospheric boundary layer. SUBLIME fills this gap by performing a single-column multi-model evaluation for a summer case at King’s College observatory in London (UK). Model simulations are performed in three stages (1: default model settings for urban canopy parameters; 2: Local Climate Zone 2 settings and 3: best-available settings) and evaluated using a wealth of observation data made available by the King’s College observatory. 

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Remote sensing for malaria epidemiology in African cities

  • Supported by the STEREO-III program of the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO), 2017-2021.

This rapid rate of urban growth in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and the associated demographic, environmental and socioeconomic changes modify the epidemiology of vector-borne diseases, and more specifically of malaria. Thus far, malaria has been considered a predominantly rural disease in Africa and malaria intervention across the continent remains focussed on rural, highly endemic communities with far fewer strategic policy directions for the control of malaria in fast growing cities. Yet, urban malaria in sub-Saharan Africa is a major health problem that is likely to become increasingly important, unless addressed. The heterogeneity of intra-urban malaria risk is not captured in continental risk-mapping initiatives. Better identifying the pockets of focal transmission within urban areas would be extremely useful for policy makers as it would help to better target interventions within urban areas where the high population densities make a large population at risk. Moreover, the inter-urban risk variations have never been taken into account in malaria risk modelling. The main goals of REACT are therefor to improve our knowledge on 1) intra-urban malaria risk and 2) inter-urban malaria risk, by harnessing multi-temporal and -scale remote sensing capabilities.

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APHH china

Atmospheric Pollution and Human Health in a Chinese Megacity

  • Supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), 2016-2020.

APHH is an international collaborative project to examine the emissions, processes and health effects of air pollution in Beijing. The four research themes of APHH-China are:

  • (1) sources and emissions of urban atmospheric pollution
  • (2) processes affecting urban atmospheric pollution
  • (3) exposure science and impacts on health
  • (4) interventions and solutions to reduce health impacts 

Themes 1 and 2 are closely integrated and support Theme 3, while Themes 1-3 provide scientific data for Theme 4 on the development of cost-effective solutions. A key activity within APHH-Beijing was the two month-long intensive field campaigns at two sites: (i) central Beijing, and (ii) rural Pinggu. The coordinated campaigns provided observations of the atmospheric chemistry and physics in and around Beijing during November – December 2016 and May- June 2017. The campaigns were complemented by numerical air quality modelling and air quality and meteorology data at the 12 national monitoring stations in Beijing.

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Verdunstung von Niederschlagswässern als neuer Ansatz zur Klimawandelanpassung

  • supported by the Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit (BMUB), September 2016 - August 2019

The aim of the project is to test the possibility of evaporation as an independent and innovative approach of a local rainwater management in addition to the established methods for the decoupling of precipitation waters (such as infiltration). The questions of the project are:

  • Can such an evaporation system reduce the heating of the urban climate?
  • What dimension of an evaporation bed with plants is necessary to work in a proper way?

 As part of the project, therefore, the accumulated rainwater is collected in a disused fire basin and brought to the evaporation beds on the property. The calculated dimensioning of the evaporation beds will be checked and optimized by real measurements. At the same time, the evaporation of the individual places (fire extinguishers, evaporation beds, etc.) and the micro-climatic effects of evaporation (lowering of temperature / increase in humidity) on the property are recorded. 

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Aktivierung der Bodenkühlleistung für stadtklimatische Konzepte zur Klimaanpassung am Beispiel der Stadt Neuss

  • supported by the Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit (BMUB), February 2015 – April 2017 

Which input can urban soils give to the cooling of heat islands? To answer this question, the city of Neuss and the Ruhr University of Bochum have joined in a project titled "StaKliBo - Activating of Soil Cooling Potential for Urban Concepts of Climate Adaptation".
The empirical recording (measurements, modeling, GIS) of the relationships between soil conditions, water availability and vegetation cover on the one hand and cold air potential (cooling power) on the other hand formed the basis for a climatic soil concept and a soil management system. These should be integrated into sustainable urban planning under the theme of adaptation to climate change.

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Neue Wege zu einer Klimaangepassten Stadtplanung am Beispiel des Modellgebiets "Quartier Feldmark"

  • supported by the Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit (BMUB), October 2014 - Septermber 2017

During the Plan4Change project, the City of Bochum, the German Institute of Urban Studies (DIFU) and the Ruhr University of Bochum were investigating the concrete implementation of the existing “Bochum Climate Adaptation Concept” by accompanying the planning process for the development of the "Ostpark", an important new housing project. The objectives of the three-year project were:

  • the climate-adapted implementation of measures in the Ostpark area 
  • the broad and intensive stakeholder involvement
  • a guideline with transferable results for the integration of climate adaptation measures into planning processes of Bochum and other cities. 

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