Urban SIS - "Climate information for European Cities"

The European Commission has recently stated (“Roadmap for Climate Services”, 2015) that climate services have the potential to become the intelligence behind the transition to a climate-resilient society. In this scope, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) aims to provide information that will help societal and business sectors improve decision-making and planning in regard to climate mitigation and adaptation. The C3S Urban SIS project serves as a proof-of-concept for a Sectorial Information Service (SIS) on the infrastructure and health sectors in European cities, with the overarching goal of developing, demonstrating and putting into production a method to downscale climate and impact indicators to the urban scale.

The demonstration consists of three pilot cities: Bologna, Stockholm and Amsterdam-Rotterdam. Aiming to cover a lack of climate data that takes into account the specific conditions and intra-city gradients of individual cities, Urban SIS delivers selected Essential Climate Variables (ECV) on a spatial resolution of 1x1 km2 and a temporal resolution of 1 hour, spanning over two time windows of 5 years each, representing present and future climate. From these ECV a series of statistical impact indicators are calculated for these two periods, so that the spatially distributed information can be used directly by decision makers and urban planners.

The downscaling modelling chain consists of three components: the meteorological/climate model HARMONIE, the air quality model MATCH and the hydrological model E-HYPE. For the present climate, the meteorological boundary and initial conditions are provided by the UERRA reanalysis. Detailed urban physiography description aggregates ECOCLIMAP-II, Copernicus land services and national databases. Emission data is provided by Copernicus on the regional scale and by national services on the finer resolution. For the future climate, HARMONIE boundary conditions are driven by the global climate model EC-EARTH and the chosen climate scenario is RCP8.5. Future emissions are provided to MATCH by ECLIPSE database and local data sources. The regional hydrological model is driven by bias-corrected data from the Pan-European model HARMONIE-ALARO and the urban hydrological model with bias-corrected data output from the high-resolution HARMONIE-AROME model.

As a proof-of-concept, this methodology offers the added-value of being replicable in other European cities, therefore contributing to mitigate the increasing need of high-resolution urban climate information. UrbanSIS web-portal (urbansis.climate.copernicus.eu/) enables the user to plot, download and post-process selected ECV and indicators, representing a source of high-resolution information for end-users and a business opportunity for purveyors seeking for climate services in the context of urban adaptation.


The main goal of Urban SIS is to develop, demonstrate and put into production a method to downscale climate and impact indicators to the urban scale, delivering the information in a format that it is directly useful for consultants, planners, engineers and scientists dealing with intense rainfall, heat waves, and air pollution hazards. This will be accomplished through the following step-by-step objectives:

  • Downscale existing climate data by running HARMONIE in NWP and climate mode with a spatial resolution of 1x1 km2
  • 3 downscaling models for: climate (HARMONIE), air quality (MATCH) and hydrology (HYPE)
  • Proof-of-concept considers 3 pilot cities (Stockholm, Bologna and Amsterdam/Rotterdam). Data spans over time windows of 5-10 years, representing ‘historical’ (NWP mode) and ‘present/future’ (climate mode)
  • Produce 1x1 km2 urban ECVs (e.g.: precipitation, water vapor, temperature, wind speed & direction, surface radiation budget, NO2/O3/PM2.5, soil moisture, river discharge)
  • Post-process the urban ECVs aiming to generate urban impact indicators (e.g.: heat/air pollution-related deaths, max/min summer/winter temperature, precipitation Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) curves…)

SMHI role

General coordination of the project. Processing of high-resolution urban physiography. Downscaling to urban scale. Validation of model results through comparison against observations. Selection and production of indicators. Data storage, access and visualization during proof-of-concept.


SMHI (coordinator, SE), University of Reading (urban climate expert, UK), University of Umeå (human health expert, SE), ARPA Emilia-Romagna (IT), University of Bologna (IT), WSP (SE), Veryday (SE).





Project website


Main contact person at SMHI

Lars Gidhagen