7th RAMSES newsletter

Table of contents

Welcome to the seventh RAMSES Newsletter!

The RAMSES eNewsletter will inform you about results and events of the EU research project RAMSES. The aim is to keep all relevant actors in the field of climate change adaptation up to date with regard to much needed quantification of the impact of climate change on cities and criteria to prioritise adaptation options.

I) RAMSES 3rd Stakeholder Dialogue

II) RAMSES Research


IV) New RAMSES Research Reports

V) Latest RAMSES Publications 



I) RAMSES 3rd Stakeholder Dialogue

Understanding vulnerabilities, assessing economic gains and unlocking the transformative potential of climate adaptation in cities

4th October 2016 (09.00-17.00), Rome, Italy

The 3rd RAMSES Stakeholder Dialogue will take place in Rome (Italy), on the 4th October 2016. This is the last project Stakeholder Dialogue and will offer a unique opportunity to cities and urban adaptation experts and practitioners to learn about interim results of RAMSES, share their experiences and give feedback to further advance and tailor the RAMSES research.

Three main crucial topics to fostering adaptation and resilience development will be at the core of the event:

- Understanding climatic and socio-economic risks and vulnerabilities in cities;

- Assessing the costs and the benefits of different adaptation measures;

- Exploiting the transformative potential of climate adaptation and unlocking co-benefits.

The input provided by RAMSES world-class experts including the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, the Tyndall Centre at Newcastle University, the London School of Economics and Tecnalia will be shared and discussed with stakeholders throughout the day.

Save the date! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain knowledge on and influence cutting-edge adaptation research on cities. The 3rd RAMSES Stakeholder Dialogue will be free of charge.

Register to confirm your participation on the RAMSES website!

With any queries regarding the Stakeholder Dialogue or for more information, please contact Alberto Terenzi at alberto.terenzi@iclei.org.



II) RAMSES Research

City-scale analysis: simulating the impacts of climate change on urban areas

Alongside broad, European-scale analysis and investigation of approaches to climate resilience and adaptation in case study cities, RAMSES is also focussing on the simulation and integrated assessment of the potential future impacts of climate change at city scale, and testing possible adaptation options to help reduce these effects. This city-scale work has so far been developing a methodology for the assessment of these impacts on urban transport networks, looking at the effects of air pollution, and thinking about disruption to businesses. Developing new capabilities in Newcastle University’s ‘Urban Integrated Assessment Framework’ (UIAF), the methodology extends existing state-of-the-art assessment of city-scale impacts from future climate change by incorporating new models.

As the climate changes, it is expected that rainfall events will become more intense and frequent, leading to more disruption to our cities from surface water flooding caused by overwhelmed drainage systems. RAMSES is using an integrated assessment approach, linking models of climate and extreme weather with models of transport networks and flows of people across cities, to try to understand what the potential impacts of these changes may be. Following on from earlier work in RAMSES, adaptation options identified for reducing these impacts are then being tested in the simulations to assess their effectiveness.

An approach has been developed that simulates the disruption to urban road networks by linking Newcastle University’s CityCAT model to a transport model simulating flows of commuters across the city. By determining the disruptions caused to roads related to the depth of flood water on road links, delays to commuter journeys can be calculated across the whole network. The severity of the delay is related to both the depth of the hazard and the importance of the road network in terms of the number of users. This approach can be used to determine the most suitable locations in an urban for infrastructure adaptation, targeting scarce resources to the most cost-effective location.

The method employed in RAMSES to calculate disruptions to commuter journeys caused by flooding.

The methodology developed has been tested using a small case study in Newcastle upon Tyne and is now being applied in the RAMSES case study cities of London and Antwerp. Modelling of surface water flooding will also be undertaken in Bilbao. Adaptation options can be simulated and their effectiveness compared. For example, the installation of green roofs across a city may reduce the severity of flooding impacts on roads, whilst improvement in road drainage may reduce the impact of that flooding once it reaches the road network. Using this approach, adaptation options are being compared, and the effectiveness of traditional ‘grey’ engineering approaches tested against blue-green interventions. Such adaptation options are also being tested under future climate scenarios, and future socio-economic scenarios using different land-use and transport futures. The results of this work will be presented later in 2016.

Disruption to roads in London from baseline flood simulation without adaptation.

RAMSES has also been developing modelling capabilities for examining the impact of future land-use and transport scenarios on air quality in urban areas. Newcastle University’s PITHEM model has been linked to simulations of traffic flow, allowing the estimation of vehicle emissions along the road network. Areas of high emissions will then be simulated using the ADMS Urban modelling software to assess the impact of local effects on air pollution, and the effect of future changes in climate and urban characteristics will be tested. The effect of adaptation options, such as switching of transport to more sustainable modes or the use of urban greenspace will also be tested in coming months.

The results from this city-scale work will provide estimates of the cost of damage and disruption to urban areas resulting from future extreme weather events. These results will be used in later RAMSES research to assess the costs of adaptation, and simulate transitions towards more climate resilient futures. The results, underpinned by climate hazard, impact, and network modelling, will be used to provide information to city stakeholders to help understand the complex interactions in urban areas, help understand the effectiveness of potential adaptation options, and help plan for a more resilient future.


Hazard Modelling: surface water flooding in Antwerp and London

Ongoing work on the case study cities in RAMSES is producing high-resolution simulations of surface water flooding for London and Antwerp. Using the CityCAT model, dynamic simulations, at resolution of up to 1m, are produced depicting the development of pluvial flooding over the course of rainfall events. These simulations take into account the location of buildings in the city, characteristics of the urban landscape (such as the permeability of the ground), and the sewerage and drainage network. The depth and velocity of surface water can be assessed at any location or time epoch during the simulation.

The simulations in Antwerp are advancing the state-of-the-art by including, for the first time, spatially-variant rainfall (with different intensities of precipitation for different areas of the city, depicting moving storm systems), spatially-variant ground characteristics, and linked surface and subsurface (e.g. sewer) flows. Working closely with colleagues from University of Leuven and the City of Antwerp, simulations are currently being tested and validated for a number of current day and future rainfall events. In London, the whole city (an area of over 1500km2) is being simulated at 5m resolution with a view to targeting of impact assessment using later higher-resolution simulations.

An example of an output from the CityCAT model for Antwerp showing water depth in the city during a heavy rainfall event.

Once validated, the CityCAT model will be used to simulate future extreme rainfall events to determine the likely impacts of climate change on urban flood risk. The use of Cloud computing is allowing the simulation of a number of future climate scenarios, alongside future land-use planning, infrastructure, and socio-economic scenarios. This allows an understanding of the impact of changes to the urban environment as well as changes to the intensity of rainfall in the future. Adaptation options, such as increasing the amount of greenspace in the city, will be tested to determine their cost effectiveness in reducing these impacts, alongside traditional approaches such as increased sewer capacity. 




The latest research findings of RAMSES are published on the RAMSES homepage. We invite you to have a look.


IV) New RAMSES research reports

New research reports are:

Methods inventory for infrastructure assessment

This report presents benchmarks, inventories and quantitative measures to assess infrastructure components, efficiencies and strategies that support the implementation of adaptation and mitigation efforts at the urban level.

Library of adaptation cost and transition functions

The term transition function describes an estimated function providing the likelihood of a transition depending on influencing factor(s). One can distinguish abrupt or gradual and favourable or unfavourable transitions. This report tackles 3 dimensions of transitions in the context of cities in the climate change complex. The interdisciplinary library consists of an economics (Part I), geography (Part II), and physics (Part III) perspective. Parts I and II treat favourable transitions and Part III is about unfavourable ones.

Extension of detailed systems-based risk analysis

This report outlines the methodologies adopted for the extension of detailed city-scale climate risk assessment to include new hazards, in the form of pluvial flooding and air quality, and new vulnerability assessments through disruption to businesses.

All finalised public deliverables can be downloaded from our project website www.ramses-cities.eu.



V) Latest RAMSES publications

  • Ionesco D., Mokhnacheva D. and Gemenne F. (2016). Atlas des Migrations Environnementales (Presses de Sciences Po)
  • Lobaccaro G., Acero J A. (2015). Comparative analysis of green actions to improve outdoor thermal comfort inside typical urban street canyons. Urban Climate, Vol. 14, Part 2, 2015, pp. 251–267. doi:10.1016/j.uclim.2015.10.002
  • Magnan A. K., Schipper E. L. F., Burkett M., Bharwani S., Burton I., Eriksen S., Gemenne F., Schaar J. and Ziervogel, G. (2016). Addressing the risk of maladaptation to climate change. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, n/a–n/a. doi:10.1002/wcc.409 
  • Martinez, G. S., Baccini, M., De Ridder, K., Hooyberghs, H., Lefebvre, W., Kendrovski, V., Scott, K., Spasenovska, M. (2016). Projected heat-related mortality under climate change in the metropolitan area of Skopje. BMC Public Health, 16(1), 407. doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3077-y
  • Prahl, B. F., Rybski, D., Boettle, M., and Kropp, J. P. (2016): Damage functions for climate-related hazards: unification and uncertainty analysis, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 16, 1189-1203, doi: 10.5194/nhess-16-1189-2016.
  • Prahl BF, Rybski D, Burghoff O, Kropp JP. (2015): Comparison of storm damage functions and their performance, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 15 (4), 769-788. doi:10.5194/nhess-15-769-2015
  • Pregnolato M, Ford A, Robson C, Glenis V, Barr S, Dawson RJ (2016). Assessing urban strategies for reducing the impacts of extreme weather on infrastructure networks. Royal Society Open Science 2016, 3(5), 160023. doi:10.1098/rsos.160023
  • Zhou B, Lauwaet D, Hooyberghs H, De Ridder K, Kropp JP, Rybski D (2016): Assessing seasonality in the surface urban heat island of London. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 55, 493–505. doi: 10.1175/JAMC-D-15-0041.1

Europe The work leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme under Grant Agreement No. 308497
Project RAMSES - Reconciling Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development for Cities.