Heat waves in Berlin, Germany - Urban climate modifications

 - Completed project -

Project researchers

The DFG-funded research project "Heat Waves in Berlin, Germany - Urban Modifications" ("HeatWaves") as part of the package proposal "Heat Waves in Berlin, Germany" has as its central objective to find out how urban environments modify large-scale heat waves in time and space. Another central concern is to understand which processes lead to these changes.

The investigations are focused on Berlin and Brandenburg, since the climate in this region is characterized by distinct seasons and heat waves of different intensity and duration occur regularly, which also have health effects for the population. This could be clearly demonstrated within the DFG research group 1736 "Urban Climate and Heat Stress in mid-latitude cities in view of climate change" (UCaHS) The new project "HeatWaves" follows on from this and focuses on the city with its heterogeneous building and land surface structure.

Based on a detailed analysis of the various definitions of heat waves that exist worldwide, it will be shown by applying a risk model that the definition of heat waves from the perspective of an impact on the population allows better city-specific, quantitative analyses with regard to a risk for the population (e.g. increased mortality).

The subsequent analysis of meteorological conditions during heat waves will show that heat waves are not only characterized by sunshine and low wind, but a variety of weather conditions occur during these periods. Within the city, these large-scale conditions are modified, depending on the building structure, the proportion of urban vegetation and unsealed areas, leading to an intra-urban differentiation of atmospheric conditions. An important part of these investigations will be the analysis of long-term measurements from the Chair of Climatology's own Urban Climate Observation Network, including eddy covariance measurements to determine energy and water vapor fluxes, as well as measurements from other actors (e.g., German Weather Service).

Finally, we examine how these spatial variations in meteorological and climatic conditions can be brought together with risk data, which are typically available for administrative units such as districts, to allow for intra-urban differentiated analyses with respect to risk.

In collaboration with our project partner Dr. Sebastian Schubert at the Humboldt University of Berlin, we are investigating how currently projected global climate change will lead to changes in the intensity, duration, and frequency of heat waves in Berlin and what impact this will have on the associated risk to the population.

Prof. Dr.

Dieter Scherer

Office AB 3


Fred Meier

Office AB 3


Daniel Fenner



Schneider, Christoph; Neuwirth, Burkhard; Schneider, Sebastian; Balanzategui, Daniel; Elsholz, Stefanie; Fenner, Daniel; Meier, Fred; Heinrich, Ingo
Using the dendro-climatological signal of urban trees as a measure of urbanization and urban heat island
Urban Ecosystems, 25 (3) :849–865
June 2022
ISSN: 1083-8155, 1573-1642


Krug, Alexander; Fenner, Daniel; Mücke, Hans-Guido; Scherer, Dieter
The contribution of air temperature and ozone to mortality rates during hot weather episodes in eight German cities during the years 2000 and 2017
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 20 (11) :3083–3097


Krug, Alexander; Fenner, Daniel; Holtmann, Achim; Scherer, Dieter
Occurrence and Coupling of Heat and Ozone Events and Their Relation to Mortality Rates in Berlin, Germany, between 2000 and 2014
Atmosphere, 10 (6) :348


Quanz, Justus; Ulrich, Susanne; Fenner, Daniel; Holtmann, Achim; Eimermacher, Jonas
Micro-Scale Variability of Air Temperature within a Local Climate Zone in Berlin, Germany, during Summer
Climate, 6 (1) :5


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