News - August 30, 2016

App shows hot spots Amsterdam

Roelof Kleis

A new app shows where the hottest and coolest places are in Amsterdam to the inhabitants of the capital. The tool is designed in Wageningen.

Everyone has heard about the Urban heat island effect these days. It can get a lot warmer in the centre of the city in the summer than rural areas. This is because a city retains heat. But within the city itself there are big differences in temperatures. One place can be searing hot whilst a couple of blocks down the road it can be a lot cooler. The UrbanClimadApp, which is developed by Wageningen UR in collaboration with AMS in Amsterdam, shows where these urban hotspots are.

The information is provided by the chair group Meteorology and Air. The map is based on the so called climate zones, researcher Gert-Jan Steeneveld explains. The dimensions of the buildings, width of the streets and the scale of vegitation determine the possible risk for heat stress. The map does not show the temperatures but a forecast and risks.


The UrbanClimadApp continues to localise spots that are sensitive for heat stress. The people of Amsterdam receive tips from the app on how to cool their environment, based on their location: the ‘ad’ in the name of the app comes from the word adaptation. These tips come from Sanda Lenzholzer (Landscape Architecture) who developed a range of measures. Which varies from small adaptations such as replacing tiles with green, such as like plants, and big changes for pavillions, fontains and green domes. Rock retains a lot of heat. Replacing it with green has a cooling effect.

Getting rid of a couple of tiles doesn't cool a city. But every little thing helps, says Steeneveld. Research shows that ten percent more green leads to an 0,6 degrees Celsius decrease in temperature. A survey is included in the app when it is released tomorrow. The people in Amsterdam can report in this survey if the forecast and advice in the app is accurate and useful.

Meanwhile, a daily weather map is made for Amsterdam for the project ‘Summer in the city’. The maps shows a weatherforecast with an accuracy of a 100 meters according to Steeneveld. The project which started in 2013 is trying to make customized forecasts for a street.