Urban climate and heat stress in mid-latitude cities in the context of climate change (UCaHS)

DFG-Research Group 1736

- Completed project -

Project researchers

The DFG research group UCaHS ended in December 2016. using Berlin as an example, climatologists, urban geographers, hydrologists, medical scientists, engineers, building physicists, architects, urban and landscape planners, and political and social scientists investigated the effects of climate change. The scientific work focused on the risks of increasing heat stress for humans and various mitigation and adaptation options. These include, above all, measures to improve the indoor climate of particularly vulnerable population groups, as well as building technology and urban planning measures, such as the increased integration of green spaces into urban development.

UCaHS addressed the complex scientific research questions associated with heat stress in mid-latitude cities through a multi- and interdisciplinary approach. The cause-and-effect relationship, ranging from climate modification by urban regions to outdoor and indoor heat stress hazards, was analyzed in detail. Heat stress risks were investigated using available observational data, especially for specific vulnerable groups of elderly and hospital patients.

In contrast to subtropical cities, building air conditioning is not yet widespread in Berlin, so heat stress risks are currently still closely linked to urban weather and climate conditions. However, demographic and economic trends, in combination with urban climate change, are likely to lead to increasing installation of building air conditioning systems unless other options to reduce heat stress risks become available and affordable. Measures to reduce heat stress risks, either by reducing exposures or vulnerability, were quantified in terms of their effectiveness. In addition, side effects of the respective measures, which determine the efficiency of the same, were also investigated. The implementation of measures requires in-depth knowledge of constellations, especially of actors influencing urban development. Without their consideration, implementation could be prevented even if the measures were effective and efficient.

Prof. Dr.

Dieter Scherer

Office AB 3


Ute Fehrenbach

former team member


Fred Meier

Office AB 3

Research Module 1: Outdoor climate and heat stress vulnerability

Regional climate:
Prof. Dr. Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe (formerly HUB/PIK) and Dr. Susanne Grossman-Clarke (formerly at PIK).

Urban climate:
Prof. Dr. Dieter Scherer (TU Berlin)

Research module 3: Vulnerability to heat stress.

Medical Vulnerability:
Prof. Dr. Christian Witt (Charité Berlin)

Urban Vulnerability:
Prof. Dr. Tobia Lakes (HU Berlin)

Research Module 5: Urban System

Prof. Dr. Johann Köppel (TU Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Miranda Schreurs (formerly FU Berlin, moved to TU Munich)

Urban patterns:
Prof. Dr. Birgit Kleinschmit (TU Berlin)

Research module 2: Indoor climate and heat stress vulnerability.

Indoor measurements:
Prof. Dr. Wilfried Endlicher (HU Berlin)

Indoor simulations:
Prof. Dr. Christoph Nytsch-Geusen (UDK Berlin)

Research module 4: Climate-adapted buildings

Building greening:
Prof. Dr. Gerd Wessolek (TU Berlin)

Building design:
Prof. Claus Steffan (TU Berlin) *

Building technologies:
Prof. Dr. Felix Ziegler (TU Berlin)

dpa: "Against heat death: Berlin tests cooled hospital rooms" (July 2015).

Berliner Stadtblatt: "Increase in extreme temperatures" (September 2013)

Berliner Stimme: "The dark side of the sun's rays" (August 2013)

taz: "Berlin seeks recipe against heat" (July 2012)

Press office TU Berlin: "Heat stress and building cooling" (May 2012)



Jongen, H. J.; Steeneveld, G. J.; Beringer, J.; Christen, A.; Chrysoulakis, N.; Fortuniak, K.; Hong, J.; Hong, J. W.; Jacobs, C. M. J.; Järvi, L.; Meier, F.; Pawlak, W.; Roth, M.; Theeuwes, N. E.; Velasco, E.; Vogt, R.; Teuling, A. J.
Urban Water Storage Capacity Inferred From Observed Evapotranspiration Recession
Geophysical Research Letters, 49 (3)
February 2022
ISSN: 0094-8276, 1944-8007


Jänicke, Britta; Holtmann, Achim; Kim, Kyu Rang; Kang, Misun; Fehrenbach, Ute; Scherer, Dieter
Quantification and evaluation of intra-urban heat-stress variability in Seoul, Korea
International journal of biometeorology, 63 (1) :1–12


Grossman-Clarke, Susanne; Schubert, Sebastian; Fenner, Daniel
Urban effects on summertime air temperature in Germany under climate change
International Journal of Climatology, 37 (2) :905-917
Jänicke, Britta; Meier, Fred; Fenner, Daniel; Fehrenbach, Ute; Holtmann, Achim; Scherer, Dieter
Urban-rural differences in near-surface air temperature as resolved by the Central Europe Refined analysis (CER): sensitivity to planetary boundary layer schemes and urban canopy models
International Journal of Climatology, 37 (4) :2063–2079
ISSN: 08998418


Hoelscher, Marie-Therese; Nehls, Thomas; Jänicke, Britta; Wessolek, Gerd
Quantifying cooling effects of facade greening: Shading, transpiration and insulation
Energy and Buildings, 114 :283-290
Buchin, Oliver; Jänicke, Britta; Meier, Fred; Scherer, Dieter; Ziegler, Felix
The role of building models in the evaluation of heat-related risks
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 16 (4) :963-976


Jänicke, Britta; Meier, Fred; Hoelscher, Marie-Therese; Scherer, Dieter
Evaluating the Effects of Façade Greening on Human Bioclimate in a Complex Urban Environment
Advances in Meteorology, 2015 :1–15
ISSN: 1687-9309
Walikewitz, Nadine; Jänicke, Britta; Langner, Marcel; Meier, Fred; Endlicher, Wilfried
The difference between the mean radiant temperature and the air temperature within indoor environments: A case study during summer conditions
Building and Environment, 84 :151–161
ISSN: 03601323


Jehn, Melissa; Gebhardt, Andreas; Liebers, Uta; Kiran, Bahar; Scherer, Dieter; Endlicher, Wilfried; Witt, Christian
Heat Stress is Associated with Reduced Health Status in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: A Prospective Study Cohort
Lung, 192 (4) :619–624
ISSN: 0341-2040


Scherer, Dieter; Fehrenbach, Ute; Lakes, Tobia; Lauf, Steffen; Meier, Fred; Schuster, Christian
Quantification of heat-stress related mortality hazard, vulnerability and risk in Berlin, Germany
DIE ERDE – Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin, 144 (3-4) :238–259
ISSN: 0013-9998