Last Friday’s EEO/AGI-S seminar was given by Dr. Stuart Barr who presented the progress and results of a long term research of the Centre for Earth Systems Engineering of the Newcastle University. His presentation with title “Urban heat risk assessment and adaption using spatial modelling and Earth observation” focused on the spatial temperature dynamics at the scale of a city and particularly London.
Reflecting on the difficulties that cities are facing with climate change, Dr. Barr began his presentation by introducing the EPSRC network on climate change adaptation and the Urban Integrated Assessment Framework (UIAF), a collaborative work of Newcastle, Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester universities. UIAF forms a combination of various projects that aim in the development of an analytical toolbox for spatially understanding, analyzing and predicting climate change impacts on cities in the future. Focusing on the heat risk in London, the research of Newcastle University intends to create prediction and impact assessment models for predict future heat raises and their potential impact on the urban environment.
Dr. Barr highlighted the importance of detecting and understanding patterns of vulnerability to heat within the city and indicated that for the development of an effective risk assessment model the information over the temperature dynamics and heat hazards must be combined with census and socio-economic data and also with information about the local exposure to heat. This integration of a wide range of disperse data and the implementation of different simulation scenarios allow the prediction of future population and urban development and based on these models potential vulnerable areas can be spotted and emergencies strategies can be developed. A number of interesting results of these prediction models were presented, indicating serious temperature alteration within London and an increase of heat risk around the city centre.
Concluding, Dr. Barr clarified that this project clearly aims to the development of a generic tool that can be applied to any city, providing that all the necessary data are available. Future work involves the transaction from single–hazard to multi–objective risk assessment models that will allow the analysis of multiple risks at the same time. Finally, the potential of moving from a regional to a global scale and the challenging but yet very important nature of such an attempt were briefly discussed.
(MSc in GIS at University of Edinburgh)