Energy balance measurements in the Namib desert. Started August 1, 2009.
NAmibia FOg Life Cycle Analysis - Researching the dynamics and effects of fog in the Namib
URBANFLUXES stands for "URBan ANthrpogenic heat FLUX from Earth observation Satellites" and is a Horizon 2020 funded space research project, coordinated by the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (Greece).
Exploiting earth observation in sustainable urban planning & management
Contribution of the University of Basel towards the "Meteorological measurements in the Barringer Meteor Crater" project for the examination of downslope windstorm-type flows.
Urban climate study of Bucharest, Romania.
BRIDGE is a joint effort of 14 European Organizations aiming at incorporating sustainability aspects in urban planning processes, accounting for some well recognised relations between urban metabolism and urban structure. The local measurement program consist of an additional street canyon tower and an additional flux site.
The Hyper-Swiss-Net project aims at developing and supporting the scientific expertise and infrastructure in Switzerland for the exploitation of imaging spectrometry technology for different Earth observation applications
Investigation of birch pollen production and emission by combining experimental and modeling work in order to quantify the released pollen in relation to turbulence characteristics and micrometeorological parameters around a pollen source.
Former projects
A list of former projects of the MCR Unibas



"SustainaBle uRban plannIng Decision support accountinG for urban mEtabolism"

Project description

The Bridge project will focus on the understanding of patterns of energy and material flows through the urban community's economy to provide a systemic reading of the present situation for goal and objective setting and development of indicators for sustainability.

The core of BRIDGE will develop a tool to assist decision making processes by providing tools for the design and a structured presentation of alternatives and mechanisms for the comparative analysis, ranking, and selection (DSS). The observations of physical flows, the models and/or the models results, the environmental impact assessment methodologies and the socio-economic costs assessments methodologies will be integrated in the BRIDGE DSS and scenarios will be provided for resources optimization in the urban fabric.

Aim & Objectives

BRIDGE is a joint effort of 14 European Organizations aiming at incorporating sustainability aspects in urban planning processes, accounting for some well recognised relations between urban metabolism and urban structure.

BRIDGE also aims at devising of innovative planning strategies for urban planning and design in Europe. BRIDGE will provide the means to quantitatively estimate the various components of the urban metabolism, the means for quantitative estimate their socio-economic and environmental impacts, as well as the means for resource optimisation in urban fabric.

The main objectives of the proposed project BRIDGE are:

  • Bridge the gap between bio-physical sciences and urban planners
  • Illustrate the economic advantages of accounting for environmental issues on a routine basis in urban planning decisions.
  • Provide the means to quantitatively estimate the various components of the urban metabolism from local to regional scales.
  • Provide the means to quantitatively estimate the environmental impacts of the above components.
  • Provide the means to translate the above environmental impacts to socio-economic costs.
  • Support the development of sustainable planning strategies to decouple resource use and economic development.
  • Provide the means to optimise resources in urban planning.
  • Involve local and regional stakeholders in validation of project’s achievements.
  • Support the implementation of EU policy on urban environment.

Our contributions: Workpackage 2 - Methodology Specification

WP2 is dedicated to Methodology Specification. It will ensure that new research and policy tools developed as part of the BRIDGE project build on current knowledge and make best use of the available resources from a scientific and policy perspective. The main objective of WP2 is to document current understanding and the status of policy in the realm of urban metabolism in order to specify the methodology to be used. The work to be carried within WP2 has three main directions:

  • Documentation of current understanding and modelling capability for energy and material flows and resources in urban environments. Consideration will be given to the inputs, use and transformations, and outputs. Careful attention will be directed to identifying the processes that are currently well understood from a science, policy and decision making perspective, and those for which insight is lacking.

  • Documentation of the needs of users and demands of the planning community in the context of sustainable design.

  • Initiation of first stages of a participatory methodology for stakeholder involvement for each of the case studies (in support of WP5). Local stakeholders and experts for each of the relevant flows will be consulted with the objective developing a platform for communication between DSS developers, potential users, experts and stakeholders in the early stage of the project, in order to enhance user-friendliness of the DSS tool and promote its adoption by the interested parties. To achieve this the framework of a Community of Practise will be used.

This WP will be the kick-off for the CoP's which will be used throughout the project. The key deliverable will be a summary of:

  • Current knowledge and needs; specifically of water, energy, and carbon exchanges
  • users operational needs
  • sustainable planningrequirements

This WP will also identify available data sets and a range of models to be tested. Attention will be directed to ensure processes are studied end-to-end.

Workpackage 3 - Data Collection and Analysis

The objective of WP3 is to provide valuable datasets to describe over time the different physical flows characterising urban metabolism of BRIDGE case studies, which have been selected along NS and EW transects - influenced by different policy and resource availability. Socio-economic data for all case studies will be also collected. The deliverables will be a constituted by a series of datasets to be used for the development and validation of simulation models, of environmental and socio-economic impact analysis methods and of the BRIDGE DSS. These data will be also used for comparative studies between different cities.


Workpackage 8 - Demonstration

WP8 includes demonstration and feedback by the end-users of the applicability, usefulness and potential impact of the BRIDGE DSS prototype. Task 8.2 concerns the application of the two versions of the prototype BRIDGE DSS for different cities that will be used for the demonstration events. Besides the demonstration of the prototypes at the umbrella CoP's, the prototypes will also be demonstrated in each individual city for hands-on experience.

Local measurement program

In the extended framework of BRIDGE we carry out a local measurement program with focus on urban carbon and energy exchange processes and measurements in the central european city of Basel, Switzerland.

Project Website


Involved persons at mcr

Björn Lietzke (WP2 & 8)

Roland Vogt(WP2, 3 & 8)

Christian Feigenwinter (WP3)

Project partners

  • FORTH - Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas
  • KCL - King's College London
  • CNR - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
  • IETU - Instytut Ecologii Teren òw Uprzemyslowionych
  • UPM - Technical University of Madrid
  • UAVR - University of Aveiro
  • UBAS - University of Basel
  • TCD - Trinity College, Dublin
  • UHEL - University of Helsinki
  • NKUA - National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • CMCC - Centro euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici S.c.a.r.l.
  • CNRM - Météo France CNRM France
  • ALTERRA - Alterra B.V. The Netherlands
  • SOTON - University of Southampton United
The street canyon tower and the rooftop-tower.
View from the "Turmhaus" towards the city center.
Measurements take place on top of this building, the "Turmhaus".

LocalBRIDGE program

Within the scientific scope of BRIDGE, an additional set of urban micrometeorological measurements with a focus on CO2-fluxes is being carried out in the city of Basel, Switzerland:

  • Next to the Klingelbergstrasse-site where long-term measurements are being carried out (since 2003), a 19m-street-canyon tower has been erected.
  • A second urban CO2 flux measurement site has been installed at Basel Aeschenplatz, a place next to the city center that is highly influenced by traffic.

Primary Investigator: Björn Lietzke

Background/Motivation - Why measuring CO2 in urban environments?

Modeling the global carbon cycle:

Quantifying the role of cities is a crucial part and not well known today:

  • Cities cover a small fraction of the earths surface.
  • Cities are inadequately represented in global climate models.
  • Cities are inhabited by roughly 50% of the worlds population.
  • Cities are responsible for 30-40% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Methodological uncertainties:

Limitations of single-point measurements in complex urban environment.

How accurate are they, what do they represent?Reliability of micrometeorological standard-methods in urban environments?

Goal & Questions

Investigation of micro to local scale variability of CO2 concentrations and fluxes in a dense urban environment.

1. Comparison of two urban CO2-flux sites over more than one year.

Where does the CO2 come from, on what factors do fluxes depend and to what extent?

2. Micro to local-scale CO2-exchange processes in and above a street canyon.

How does local scale CO2 distribution develop in and above an urban street canyon?

The road Klingelbergstrasse is part of the inner ring road around the city center of Basel, Switzerland. Especially during rush hours it is highly frequented by individual traffic and public transport buses. On a grass strip in the middle of the three-lane road a 19 m high street canyon tower has been installed for a one and a half year period from October 2009 to March 2011. On top of the building beneath, which has a height of approximately 20 m, a fix rooftop mast (39 m total height above street level) equipped with several meteorological instruments is continuously sampling data since January 2004.

Two vertical CO2-concentration profiles were sampled, one in the center and one at a wall of the canyon using a closed-path gas analyzer. CO2 efflux from the street canyon was measured with an open path eddy-covariance system at the top of the canyon. A vertical profile of air temperature and humidity is measured at three different heights.

Expected outputs are an enhanced knowledge about the spatial-temporal CO2 distribution within and above an urban street canyon in correlation with local traffic and heating patterns and comparisons with and verifications of local scale models (e.g. CFD). Local wind directions are assumed to play an important role in vertical CO2 exchange and in the distribution inside the canyon.

The urban CO2 and energy flux measurements at Basel “Aeschenplatz” are carried out since June 2009. This station is thought to be a reference station for the long-term flux measurements at the Institute for Meteorology, Climatology and Remote Sensing (Basel Klingelbergstrasse, see above) located about 1.6 km away. CO2 flux and concentration data of this two stations will be compared and analyzed for their source areas.

This site is part of the Urban Flux Network.