Thursday, December 20, 2012

New planning tool for climate adaptation in cities

The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute: A changing climate places great pressure on society, and creates many new challenges. To make city planning easier, a planning tool has been developed to support climate adaptation of cities and regions in Europe. The European research project SUDPLAN, co-ordinated by SMHI, has developed a planning tool for climate adaptation of European cities and regions for intensive precipitation, hydrological conditions and the air environment.

“Already today we are beginning to notice climate-related problems in cities, such as flooding. As the climate changes even more, these difficulties will increase. This is why a tool is needed to facilitate planning ahead of decisions regarding investments in infrastructure, for instance, and to ensure that projects are adapted to the altered conditions we will be facing in the future,” says Lars Gidhagen, researcher in air quality at SMHI and co-ordinator of SUDPLAN.

The planning tool SUDPLAN makes information available for the period 1961-2100, from a number of climate scenarios scaled down across Europe, complete with hydrological simulations and results from an air pollution model.

“An altered climate means that cities will be exposed to new strains such as higher temperatures, more torrential rain and altered air pollution levels which affect our health. By taking into account the climate impact when planning development in relation to waterways, dimensioning surface water networks and planning traffic routes, we can already to some extent plan for good health, comfort, safety and quality of life,” Gidhagen explains.

Using the tool, city planners anywhere in Europe can themselves generate more detailed future information by entering local precipitation data, flow data from watercourses or emissions of air pollutants. The projections can use several different climate scenarios to run the same future simulation. Similarities and differences in the various scenario results produce information about the uncertainty in the conditions we can expect to face in the future. The planning tool also contains functionality for advanced visualisation, and for linking downscaled data to users’ own local models....

High water in Koblenz, shot by Holger Weinandt, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license

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