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The urban heat island: effects on climate change and modelling towards strategies of territorial and urban planning. Application to the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona

Total activity: 8
Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Funding entity code
104.060,00 €
Start date
End date
cambio climático, climate change, isla de calor urbana, planificación territorial, remote sensing, resiliencia urbana, spatial planning, teledetección, urban heat island, urban resilience
Climate change is now an undisputed fact, existing evidence of increasing air and ocean temperatures, melting of icecaps and glaciers, as
well as sea level rise, originating from anthropogenic actions (IPCC, 2007). In turn, a broad consensus seem to exist on the role of cities
regarding climate change, occupying the urban heat island (Oke, 1973) an especially relevant role, with a significant impact on the citizens
quality of life. This scientific and technical consensus, however, does not seem to have influenced urban and regional planning practice, which still ignores, as a general rule, the effects of urban development on global
climate change, in addition to city life. The measurement and analysis of the heat island and other elements that determine the urban
climate in metropolitan environments with complex geography and urban structure, is today a fundamental element for the proper
understanding of the primary factors of the contribution of cities to climate change. The development of explanatory models of the structure
and behavior of climate in said metropolitan environments should enable the adoption of measures to mitigate the adverse effects of
climate changes resulting from our urban way of life.
In this sense, research proposed here aims to build a set of physical and statistical models of urban heat island in order to integrate them
into a platform for multiscale simulation of the climate system of the Metropolitan Region Barcelona (RMB). The measure of this heat
island, studying the effects that it has on the health and quality of life of citizens, as well as knowledge of the factors that explain it building
physical and statistical models, must allow an understanding of the contribution of the metropolitan Barcelona to climate change. At the
same time, the development at different scales of these models serve to distinguish the effects of city size, urban structure
(monocentric/polycentric), the development model (compact/dispersed), as well as the morphology and materials in the urban climate of
the RMB. Multiscale models of climate simulation that encompass the complexity of the metropolis: the whole system as a unit, the
level of urban subsystem, as well as city and district level. All this is aimed at assisting in taking actions that serves, at the level of regional
and urban planning, to mitigate the effects of climate change and to increase resilience.
For the purposes outlined above, the proposed research integrates different disciplinary areas. The research team consists of physicists
and climatologists, geographers, remote sensing and geographic information systems experts, as well as architects and urban planners.
Adm. Estat
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Call year
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad
Funding call
Retos de Investigación: Proyectos de I+D+i
Grant institution
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco


Scientific and technological production

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