I) RAMSES @ ECCA 2015

  12 - 14 May 2015 Copenhagen, Denmark

The three major European climate adaptation research projects RAMSES, BASE and TopDad are organising the European Climate Change and Adaptation Conference (ECCA) in Copenhagen from 12 May to 14 May 2015. Participants will get a chance to share new research results, learn about novel policy developments, and discuss practical implementation experiences regarding climate change impacts and adaptation. Moreover, businesses will present their innovations aiming at supporting the transition to low-carbon societies.

The high-level event serves as the RAMSES mid-term conference and researchers from the project consortium are presenting the findings in several sessions and workshops. RAMSES research has reached a crucial point: different methods and approaches that have been developed are now being combined and synthesised. Therefore, the conference presents an excellent occasion to broadcast RAMSES results on economic assessment of urban climate impacts, methodological approaches and climate communication to a wider audience.

ECCA 2015 is hosted at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, a city deeply committed to fighting climate change and transforming the city towards a CO2-neutral, resilient example for urban living in times of a changing climate. You find more information on ECCA here.


Visit RAMSES in the Exhibition area

We are looking forward to meeting you at the RAMSES booth in the ECCA 2015 exhibition area! You will find information about the latest project developments and detailed information about the RAMSES sessions, workshops, presentations and posters at ECCA. You can also directly download the timetable for RAMSES events during ECCA here.


RAMSES Workshop: What’s needed to turn climate information into climate services for Europe?

12 May, 4:30-6:30 pm, Meeting room 16

For science-based climate information to offer a service, the information should be meaningful and relevant in the context of the target audience. Climate and impact models, however, often generate output without a specific audience in mind. For users to benefit from the model output, its relevance must be established, for example by customizing the information, and it must be presented in an intelligible way. In addition to that, the shortcomings of the linear research-action model also apply to climate information. Social scientists have long known that merely presenting information does not automatically lead people to take action based on that information. A range of bottlenecks prevent the timely uptake and effective use of climate information by decision-makers (e.g. Klein and Juhola, 2014). This workshop will ask the question what it takes for climate information to be put to good use and provide actual services to users.

Many climate service initiatives are supply-driven. Additional research and improved communication might be effective in bridging the gap between climate modellers and users of climate services. But is this sufficient? How could we best create meaning for users? Could the provision of climate information also be demand-driven (a service), and if so, how? What is needed to facilitate a demand-driven process, and what could be expected from the research community (natural and social sciences), from communication experts, and from the users themselves? While communication experts and social scientists increasingly venture into this field, knowledge gaps remain, and new questions emerge.

The workshop will present an overview of current state of knowledge, present several approaches to providing climate services (which may be seen as good practices). The participants will then discuss major challenges to be addressed by future research and visions on how to advance services that interface climate science, policy and society.

The expected outcome is a collection of ideas for a Horizon 2020 project.

Co-chairs: Bernd Hezel, Richard Klein and Christian Bjørnæs.

Have a look at the workshop programme!


RAMSES Session: Curating climate impact information and adaptation know-how for local adaptation planning - suitable instruments, formats and media

13 May, 8:30 am - 1pm, Auditorium 10

Local authorities increasingly demand accessible and useful information about how climate change will possibly impact their city or region and about how to adapt. Many existing climate services, however, fail to meet this demand. Reasons include fragmentation and supply-driven prioritization of information, irrelevance in local contexts, disregard of cultural differences of science and policy spaces, inconsistency of terminology, or simply text-heavy and uninspired presentation, to name only a few.

In order to close the gap between existing climate service offerings and their potential users, this session explores different approaches on how to address challenges related to the communication of research results and the co-creation of climate and adaptation knowledge by scientists, local policy makers / practitioners and citizens. Questions to be discussed are:

  • What are the most appropriate types of information and suitable translations that assist local authorities in incorporating climate change considerations into their future strategy?
  • How to condense research results and choose complementary knowledge and best practice examples in order to meet the demands of local authorities for tangible adaptation action?
  • What education and co-creation formats and media are most useful for partners?
  • How to communicate uncertainty and risk depending on target audience and respective decision processes?
  • Where are windows of opportunity in decision processes or adaptation management cycles in which climate change adaptation information can slip in?
  • How to trigger the involvement of local change agents?

Chair: Bernd Hezel, Climate Media Factory UG, Potsdam, Germany

Have a look at the session programme!


RAMSES Workshop: Cities and climate change impacts – Bridging the scales between case studies and large scale city analysis

Wednesday the 13th of May, 11:00-13:00, Meeting Room 7

This workshop will attempt to address the questions of scale in modelling and analysis, particularly What can different approaches to analysing cities, from city-scale case studies to ensemble-scale generic approaches, learn from each other? And Are there approaches to analyse cities that can unite both high-level techniques and detailed analysis? Cities are concentrations of assets and people this concentration means that cities are economic leaders but are also particularly vulnerable to natural and other hazards. Studies investigating climate change impacts on cities and adaptation options often focus on individual case studies and investigate them with the aim of obtaining a complete and accurate assessment of a particular city.

However, cities exhibit peculiarities in respect to impacts, i.e. some are more vulnerable to floods and others to storms, and to adaptation options, i.e. an option that is optimal in one city might not be applicable in another. Thus, in general, analysis on the case study scale is more detailed and accurate, but the approaches and methodologies are rarely transferable, in particular because they are difficult to automate. Very few studies investigate a bigger ensemble of cities, i.e. regional or global scale, focusing on what cities have in common instead on what distinguishes them. This workshop intends to bring together different scales of analysis, look at cutting edge examples of modelling and approaches developed across Europe, and develop an understanding of different approaches for analysing cities and new insights into the ways these techniques can learn from each other.

The workshop will be led by Diego and Alistair, with a framing presentation from Dr Tony Hargreaves of Cambridge University. This presentation will report on findings from the ReVISIONS research project that tested the impact of regional spatial planning options, using a regional forecasting model of land use interaction and socioeconomic accounting (LUISA), such as compaction or market led dispersal over a 30 year period. This enabled the forecasts of socio-economic characteristics and demands to be combined with built form and supply at the local scale. The method has great potential for research on how built environment interventions at different spatial scales can affect the adaptation of cities to climate change. The presentation will outline the modelling method and how this has been used for testing technology scenarios for buildings and energy.

A second presentation from RAMSES researcher Koen de Ridder (VITO, Belgium) will present urban climate simulation results recently obtained with agglomeration-scale (UrbClim) and microscale (ENVI-met) models. UrbClim has been used to model periods of tens of years for several European cities, whilst the microscale model ENVI-met was applied to a public square in the city of Antwerp to assess the effect of adaptation measures to local climatic conditions. The advantages and limitations of each approach will be discussed, helping to understand the issue of scale in physical modelling.

Chairs: Diego Rybski (PIK) and Alistair Ford (Newcastle University).

Have a look at the workshop programme!


RAMSES Session: Reconciling adaptation and mitigation in cities: Part I - The science basis: Recent methodological advances

13 May 11am-1pm, Meeting room 19

This session will see presentations exploring different approaches seeking to reconcile potential trade-offs between adaptation, mitigation and sustainability measures in urban areas. As the global population consolidates, urban areas have become focal points for sustainability initiatives. There is an urgent need to reconfigure our urban areas so that they consume fewer resources, emit less pollution (including GHGs), are more resilient to the impacts of climate change, and are more sustainable in general.

However, there is increased recognition that there are potential synergies and conflicts in the objectives of mitigation, adaptation and sustainability strategies. Without sensible planning, well-meant interventions can have negative impacts elsewhere. For example, desalination can secure water supplies, but, as an energy-intensive process, can confound efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Denser cities can reduce transport energy costs, but can increase urban heat island intensity. Many other interactions are more subtle in comparison. Road pricing strategies designed to curb emissions from the transport sector can amplify inequalities by limiting accessibility options of poorer urban residents and drive up inner city rents.

This session includes two RAMSES presentations:

Alistair Ford from Newcastle University will present a paper on the RAMSES approach to integrated assessment modelling. The RAMSES project is developing an integrated assessment modelling approach that enables decision-makers to explore trade-offs and synergies between adaptation and mitigation strategies at the city scale. This paper introduce the framework being developed, and initial case study results from an application in London (UK), before considering the challenges of integrated modelling. The paper will also discuss how the RAMSES project is linking together work on climate hazards, impact modelling, and economic cost calculations.

Daniel Caparros-Midwood, also from Newcastle University, will present his work on ‘Optimised spatial planning to reconcile adaptation and mitigation objectives’. This research, developed as part of his PhD studies, presents a spatial optimization framework, developed to optimize five sustainability objectives from our case study site:

(i) minimizing risk from heat waves, (ii) minimizing the risk from flood events, (iii) minimize travel costs to minimize transport emissions, (iv) minimizing the expansion of urban sprawl, and (v) preventing development on green spaces. The results, optimal spatial configurations of future urban development, compare strategies that are optimal against individual, pairs and multiple sustainability objectives, such that each of these optimal strategies out-performs all other development strategies in at least one sustainability objective. The results suggest spatial optimisation can provide a powerful decision-support tool to help planners to identify spatial development strategies that satisfy multiple sustainability objectives.

Chairs: Alistair Ford, Newcastle University; Efrén Feliu, Tecnalia

Have a look at the session programme!


RAMSES Session: Economic Costs and Benefits of Climate Adaptation in Cities

13 May 2-4pm, Auditorium 11

Cities have grown increasingly aware that investment in adaptation to climate change is needed to strengthen their resilience. However, a key challenge faced by policy makers is the lack of tools and robust evidence on the economic costs and benefits of urban climate adaptation. In line with the objectives of RAMSES, this session explores different methods and frameworks for assessing vulnerability to climate change and the economic costs and benefits of adaptation strategies at the city level. The session also discusses city-specific challenges of data collection and analysis. The purpose is to provide a forum for scientists, policy makers and industry to share ideas and learn from the latest innovations.

Over half the world’s population now live in cities. At the same time, key infrastructure, buildings, assets and sectors of national economies are concentrated in urban areas, with associated social and financial risks from flooding, heatwaves and other extreme weather events. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these risks and lead to higher damage costs in the future. A range of rigorous methods and tools are needed to quantify the damages and adaptation costs associated with climate change to inform the policy debate and allow policy makers to prioritize adaptation measures more effectively. The session involves both theoretical and empirical contributions in order to provide methods and tools for estimating direct and indirect costs, assessing market and non-market costs, and prioritising institutional reforms.

This session includes two RAMSES presentations:

Article presentation: Climate change, heat stress and labour: a framework for assessing adaptation costs in the city economy
Authors: Hélia Costa, Graham Floater, Hans Hooyberghs, Koen de Ridder

In the article “Climate change, heat stress and labour: a framework for assessing adaptation costs in the city economy” we develop a framework to assess the impact of heat waves on economic production in cities under a range of climate change projections. The framework evaluates the production losses across sectors of the city economy as a result of reduced working hours. The approach not only provides estimates of production costs from increasing temperatures, but also highlights the vulnerability of different economic sectors and the key mechanisms affecting production losses. This is important for identifying the most effective climate change adaptation strategies or economic recovery plans.

Cities are particularly vulnerable to heat waves. They act as urban heat islands, retaining high temperatures for longer periods than surrounding areas. Furthermore, climate change is predicted to increase the frequency of extreme heat events in cities. This in turn is likely to have significant impacts on labour productivity, public health and the operational capacity of infrastructure. This research brings together different partners in the RAMSES project to create a framework that assesses heat-related losses in economic production for a range of European cities. We present results on total costs to the city economy, vulnerability analysis, and the effectiveness of different adaptation measures.

Jürgen Kropp presents “Coastal floods threatening European cities – a large scale damage function assessment”. The objective of this study is to develop a library of city-based impact functions for the case of coastal flooding and to provide estimations for the required efforts to protect the cities against floods of certain height. The work aims at combining the best of the two types of approaches, that is, the application of a consistent top-down approach that enables the comparability of results, and the use of high resolution data sets and proxies other than population in order to better depict local features and assets determining damages.

Chairs: Graham Floater, Seneca Consultants sprl; Hélia Costa, LSE Cities

Have a look at the session programme!


RAMSES Session: Urban adaptation action – a multi-level governance issue

13 May 4:30- 6:30pm, Meeting Room 10

As major centres of population and infrastructure, cities are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events and other effects of climate change. At the same time, they have many opportunities to improve their climate resilience in a variety of policy fields, such as public health, energy, spatial planning, civil protection, risk management, water supply and the environment.

Many cities in Europe and beyond have started to address urban climate adaptation and are engaged in various projects, programmes and strategies to enhance their climate resilience. Increasingly, local climate change adaptation is also considered in a longer context of urban policy initiatives and processes. In their efforts to tackle climate change, cities are encouraged and supported by national and the European levels as well as by global initiatives.

This session presents urban adaptation action in the context of overall societal and economic development and from a multi-level perspective.

Contributions address:

  • How do actors at different policy levels attempt to tackle and support climate change adaptation in cities?
  • What is the role of networks as enabling and capacity building structures?
  • How is urban adaptation action funded?

Chairs: Julia Peleikis, ICLEI Europe; Birgit Georgi, EEA

Have a look at the session programme!


RAMSES Session: Operationalizing local adaptation: transition towards urban climate resilience

14 May 08:30-10:30am, Meeting Room 5

The transition to a resilient urban area/system can be approached in different ways. Such complexity needs to be addressed with the definition of a theoretical-conceptual framework and by developing tools based on empirical research.

This session explores what are the dynamics of the on-going transition of society and economy in order to ensure an “optimum transition pathway towards urban resilience and sustainability”.

Chair: Maddalen Mendizabal, Tecnalia

Have a look at the session programme!


RAMSES presentations in ECCA 2015 Sessions

Maddalen Mendízabal, Alberto Terenzi: Co-creating climate and adaptation knowledge: Experiences from the RAMSES project
Session: Curating climate impact information and adaptation know-how for local adaptation planning - suitable instruments, formats and media
13 May, 8:30-10:30 am; Auditorium 10

Alistair Ford: Reconciling Adaptation and Mitigation in Cities: The RAMSES Integrated Assessment modelling approach
Session: Reconciling adaptation and mitigation in cities: Recent methodological advances
13 May 11am-1pm; Meeting Room 19

Daniel Caparros-Midwood: Optimised spatial planning to reconcile adaptation and mitigation objectives
Session: Reconciling adaptation and mitigation in cities: Recent methodological advances
13 May 11am-1pm; Meeting Room 19

Graham Floater, Hélia Costa: Climate change, heat stress and labour productivity: a framework for assessing adaptation costs in the city economySession: Economic Costs and Benefits of Climate Adaptation in Cities
13 May 2-4pm; Auditorium 11

Jürgen Kropp: Coastal floods threatening European cities – a large scale damage function assessment
Session: Economic Costs and Benefits of Climate Adaptation in Cities
13 May 2-4pm; Auditorium 11

Nicole De Paula Domingos: Gaps and opportunities in Rio de Janeiro adaptation strategies
Session: Urban adaption action - a multi-level governance issue
13 May, 4:30- 6:30pm; Auditorium 10

James Kallaos: Embodying resilience in urban development processes: suggestions for the future
Session: The impact of climate change on the planning and architectural design
14 May, 11am-1pm; Meeting room 18

Carlos Tapia: Revisiting urban vulnerabilities and risks: an integrated climate change vulnerability and risk assessment for European cities
Session: Supporting urban vulnerabilities and risks: an integrated climate change vulnerability and risk assessment for European cities
14 May 11am-1pm; Auditorium 15


RAMSES presentations in ECCA 2015 Workshops

Koen de Ridder
Workshop: Addressing urban climate challenges: Climate Services, Living Labs and Learning Alliances
12 May, 2-4pm; Meeting Room 17

Jürgen Kropp
Workshop: Sustainable Dredging Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation: Solutions from the European Dredging Community
12 May 4:30- 6:30 pm; Meeting room 7

Koen de Ridder
Workshop: Cities and climate change impacts - Bridging the scales between case studies and large scale city analysis
13 May, 11 am-1pm; Meeting Room 7


RAMSES poster presentations at ECCA 2015

Selma Guerreiro: Pan-European assessment of urban climate change impacts
13 May, 4:30pm – 7pm

Maria Pregnolato: Climate adaptation engineering: a transport network case study
12 May, 4:30pm – 7pm

Diego Rybski: Urbanization, development, and CO2 emissions: results from a meta-study
13 May, 4:30pm – 7pm

Alessandra Prampolini: Casale Podere Rosa, Rome: impacts and constraints of an eco-friendly neighbourhood network
14 May, 10:30 –11am; 1– 2pm

Tabea Lissner: How can existing vulnerability assessment methods advance our understanding of limits to adaptation and loss and damage?
14 May, 10:30 –11am; 1– 2pm

II) Latest RAMSES scientific publications

RAMSES results leads to a series of scientific publications. In the last five months, the project published the following articles:

Prahl, B. F., Rybski, D., Burghoff, O., and Kropp, J. P.: Comparison of storm damage functions and their performance, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 769-788, doi:10.5194/nhess-15-769-2015, 2015.
http://www.nat-hazards-earth-syst-sci.net/15/769/2015/nhess-15-769-2015.html

K. Kourtidis, A.K. Georgoulias, S. Rapsomanikis, V. Amiridis, I. Keramitsoglou, H. Hooyberghs, B. Maiheu, D.Melas, 2015. A study of the hourly variability of the urban heat island effect in the Greater Athens Area during summer. Science of the Total Environment, 517, 162-177.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.02.062

Hendrik Wouters, Matthias Demuzere, Koen De Ridder, Nicole P.M. van Lipzig, 2015. The impact of impervious water-storage parametrization on urban climate modelling. Urban Climate, 11, 24-50.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.uclim.2014.11.005

De Ridder, K., D. Lauwaet, B. Maiheu, 2015.  UrbClim - a fast urban boundary layer climate model, Urban Climate, 12, 21-48.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.uclim.2015.01.001

III) RAMSES Deliverables available on www.ramses-cities.eu

All finalised public Deliverables can be downloaded from the project website www.ramses-cities.eu.

IV) RAMSES in a nutshell

The RAMSES project aims to develop methods and tools to quantify the expected damages due to climate change and costs of specific adaptation measures using a systems-based risk approach on a regional scale. This will allow decision makers to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of adaptation measures in cities and to consider trade-offs and inter-linkages with social and environmental issues.

In order to achieve this, urban characteristics and their inter-linkages will be identified and used to provide the local context for the assessment. In an integrated top-down and bottom-up approach risks, vulnerabilities and damages from climate change will be quantified. Associated costs and benefits of adaptation will then be assessed to support the design of sustainable transition strategies in urban areas.

RAMSES started on 1 October 2012 and will run until 30 September 2017.




The RAMSES Newsletter will be sent via email at key moments during the project lifetime, e.g. after the release of a scientific deliverable or stakeholder events. Interesting links to relevant websites and publications provide additional information on the topics described.

Project website: www.ramses-cities.eu

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). The content in this leaflet reflects the authors’ views. The European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

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Copyright © 2015 RAMSES consortium, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is: info@ramses-cities.eu

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.