Improvement and verification of urban extreme temperature predictions with satellite and ground observations in Austria

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

Extreme temperatures, especially long-lasting heat and cold waves in urban areas, lead to thermal stress of the population and increase the number of weather-related health risks and deaths (Heat Mortality Monitoring).

The observed climate trend and the associated extreme weather events are expected to continue in the future. Thus, the evaluation of urban thermal stress and the associated health effects becomes an important issue for urban planning and risk management. To minimize the potential dangers of extreme temperatures, accurate weather forecasts are particularly important. For Austrian cities, an information system for temperature warnings already exists.

This system is based on the information of regional weather forecast models, however this information does not have the required spatial resolution needed to resolve urban structure.

Contents and goals

The aim of the present project is to provide the basis for the improvement of extreme weather/thermal (dis)comfort warning systems in Austrian cities by using high-resolution satellite imagery and weather predictions and to validate them with satellite observations.

The micro-scale climate model SURFEX, developed by Météo France, coupled with the AROME numerical weather forecast model and the ensemble system C-LAEF, is applied to different cities in Austria and used to determine the best model configuration to carry out short-term forecasts (up to 3 days).

For extreme weather events (since 2014), high-resolution urban climate simulations (100 m) are performed, which are then validated with satellite-based land surface temperature (LST) data and in situ measurements of air and soil temperature as well as relative humidity.


In the project, land use parameterization will be homogenized based on global (e.g., LAI) and Pan-European High Resolution Layers (e.g., ESM 2012) of the Copernicus Land Monitoring service in ECOCLIMAP (predefined land use classes for SURFEX).

The satellite-based LST products from ESA's Sentinel 3 satellite and the GlobTemperature project are used to verify the spatial distribution and temporal temperature variation during extreme temperature events.

Additional data sources, such as the Landsat series and Terra/ASTER thermal infrared images with a horizontal resolution of <200 m are used for the qualitative evaluation and additionally different LST interpolation methods are applied. The AROME / SURFEX model output is compared to the micro-scale urban climate model MUKLIMO_3 by the German Weather Service (100 m).

Expected results

The novel modeling approach for simulating thermal stress in urban areas serves as the basis for improving the operational prediction of extreme temperatures and for optimizing the future extreme weather warning system at the ZAMG.

Project Partners


ZAMG - Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik

Contact Address

ZAMG - Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik
DI Sandro Oswald
Hohe Warte 38
A-1190 Vienna