Urban resistance to the Effects of Climate Change

Climate change is having a significant effect on urban areas. Urban Mobile Instruments for Environmental Monitoring (URBMOBI) is at the forefront of research into a mobile device that provides data about the environmental factors contributing to climate change. URBMOBI 2.0 provides excellent opportunities for the planning of climate mitigation measures that enhance urban resilience towards atmospheric stressors.

The climate change issue

As a result of human consumption and material demands, climate change is making a big impact on metropolitan areas. There is an urgent need to increase cities’ resistance to atmospheric stressors resulting from climate change. Climate mitigation measures need to be better planned and to achieve this, efficient monitoring solutions need to be deployed.

The project solution

A device is developed which measures certain indicators of climate change. The URBMOBI 2.0 sensors measure spatial distribution of air temperature, relative humidity and solar radiation and provide near real time data. This data is processed using visualisation tools and an accompanying graphical user interface to promote market accessibility.

URBMOBI 2.0 is an innovation, there is currently no known multi-sensor instrument combined with a post processing software suite commercially available. Although similar products have been developed, none of them match up. URBMOBI 2.0 can be used as a mobile measurement unit on urban vehicles such as busses, trams and taxis. Similar systems have been used by research groups in Aachen, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Münster and Japan but these only provide short-term solutions and do not incorporate a post-processing visualisation tool kit.

During the course of the project URBMOBI plan to develop and test a prototype model of the URBMOBI 2.0 and a prototype service linked to urban heat island mitigation. A demonstration of its operability will take place in Aachen, for the Aachen demonstration case. In the long run, URBMOBI aims to develop a variety of climate and environmental monitoring services relevant to climate mitigation in cities. Planning authorities and consultancies are expected to be developed as follow up industries. With a successful implementation of URBMOBI 2.0 an incorporation of additional sensor types – measuring air quality, methane, carbon dioxide and wind vector – is anticipated for URBMOBI 3.0 version beyond 2014.

The role of Climate-KIC

URBMOBI has benefitted hugely by Climate-KICs funding. Turning a low budget sensor for geo-positioning and temperature into a fully functioning product has been possible and the project could also incorporate the expertise of some of Climate-KIC’s European partners. An Italian company, MEEO, specialises in Geographical Information Systems. They are responsible for the final conversion of data into visual products. Two other partners, Technological University of Budapest (Hungary) and TNO (the Netherlands) are responsible for the technological development, for example the sensor and GPS integration and the integration of data transfer. The final partner is ARIA Technologies, based in the south of Paris. They are experts in 3D modelling of the atmosphere. Not only have Climate-KIC helped to fund the project, they offer an invaluable network that helps to find suitable and capable partners across Europe.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to be part of the Climate-KIC network. It’s not that we can’t do a lot of interesting and important research and development without Climate-KIC. However, Climate-KIC is certainly a possibility to extend this kind of effort at a European scale. I think it’s something like an up-scaling of national or regional efforts that are indeed urgently needed in order to combat climate change impacts.” , URBMOBI