The magnitude of climate change impacts upon different ecosystems, regions and parts of the economy is not only depending on the sensitivity of those systems to climate change, but also on their ability for adaptation. Thus, coping with and adapting to climate change in the human society is a priority. Environmental factors such as pollution of air and water, flooding and droughts will inevitably affect our surroundings, for instance the urban environment and its infrastructure. To achieve a sustainable water achievement and future flood preventing, large systems such as sewage require long-term strategic planning. Other long-lived urban sub-systems such as transportation infrastructure and the built environment are equally important for the urban planning process, and the interaction between them adds further complexity. However, there is a lack of information in the relation between urban planning and climate change.
A key to predict future climate change and impacts is provided by the initiative: A new software tool for climate change services that allows the user to evaluate different solutions for environment, urbanization, infrastructure and transport systems, in both present and future climate situations. The so-developed assessment tool is designed for planning and training, giving information on three aspects: Rainfall, hydrological conditions and air quality. Rainfall affects the urban surface drainage and can cause flooding of incorrectly dimensioned sewage systems. Hydrological conditions for the area surrounding a city affect rivers and soils and could limit land use. Air quality in the city and its surroundings has a direct effect on people’s health.
The modelling tool is an information and observation system based on scenario-analysis and the combination of two different blocks: Scenario Management System and Common Services. The web-based Scenario Management System is the user interface, giving a graphical and interactive 3D/4D- visualization of the city or area in question. Scenarios, comparisons and documentation are presented for assessment and analysis of user-defined decisions. The Common Services provide environmental information and contains complex models to downscale climate scenario data on a global and regional level into an urban scale. The data include precipitation, temperature, hydrological conditions and air quality, typically within a time frame ranging from 1980 to 2050. The system can either be used directly through the Scenario Management user interface, or individual services can be accessed through standardized communication (OGC services)
The project framework is relying on acknowledged standards and specifications for open source software code to simplify the interaction with a number of other tools and information sources that are used to deliver its results. Pan-European data sets are an input to the system, giving the possibility to analyse and visualize cities European-wide. A user’s contribution of local data can enable more detailed and accurate simulations and scenarios.
The project was supported by the European Commission Seventh Framework Program (FP7), a grant funding mechanism,, and the final version of the tool will be launched by the end of 2012. There have been validating demonstrations for different environmental problems in a number of European countries: Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. A demo release of the 3D visualization module is available on the website, giving it the Technology Readiness Level 8 on the TRL scale. Its services have mainly been developed for urban planning, but can also be applied to other environments.