Description of the URBAN-PATH project
The climate modification effects of the cities influence areas with relatively small extent, yet, the phenomenon is very significant and affects many people. It is caused by the artificial built structure of the settlement and the human activity associated with heat and pollution emissions. During its development the temperature shows the most spectacular modification (increment). This excess heat on the one hand influences the energy demand for heating in winter and air conditioning in summer and on the other hand increases the thermal load of the environment – and that of the city dwellers – in summer. This can be a problem especially with heat waves becoming more frequent due to climate change.
However, the extent of this thermal load is very variable in time and space within the settlement; it depends on the specific nature of the artificial environment (e.g. building density, green space ratio, volume of traffic, industrial activities).
The long-term and effective monitoring of the excess heat generated by the cities of the project (Szeged and Novi Sad) is possible with the application of a measurement network, whose spatial resolution provides the detection (tracking) the differences between thermal characteristics of the neighborhoods, and whose temporal resolution allows the exploration of both the diurnal as well as the seasonal peculiarities. To achieve this goal, the following tasks are carried out in both cities: installation of a measurement networks of 25-30 stations with automatic data logger and transmission system; creation of high-resolution maps from the processed data about spatial structure of the thermal conditions, thermal load, and their continuous, real-time online presentation in the internet and public screen.
The information provided by the system including the local governments, health authorities, heating suppliers, institutions and the public:
• threshold numbers for the enactment of spatially differentiated heat alert within the city, so it may improve the effectiveness of the measures required during heat waves – lower health risk,
• metrics for the spatially differentiated optimization in heating and cooling energy demand within the city, which can significantly reduce the energy consumption.
The measurement networks provide the basis for few day forecasts in city-scale with which the time and cost effectiveness of the measures (e.g. heat alarms, heating demand), can be further enhanced.
Longer term, the resulting data and knowledge bases by the developed system can be an essential basis for further scientific collaboration and knowledge transfer between the Serbian and Hungarian research teams thus can contribute:
• to make cities more livable in the context of sustainable development,
• to elaborate effective climate-conscious urban planning strategies,
• to mitigate the expected adverse impacts of the global climate change,
• to maintain the health of the population,
• to mindset the climate-conscious population
Summarizing, such type of monitoring networks and the associated continuous data recording, transmission and processing as well as the real-time public display of the processed data in map forms would mean a unique and pioneering innovation development in Central Europe.