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Berlin Environmental Atlas

04.05 Urban Climate Zones (Edition 2001)

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Overview

Climate parameters such as air temperature, atmospheric moisture, excessive humidity and wind conditions are modified by urban structures and use patterns, such as topological profiles, and vegetation structures. A division of the urban area into various climate zones should contribute to a comprehensive description of the total ecological situation. The inclusion of other local factors, such as soil nutrient and moisture conditions, enables the definition of specific and separate urban areas. Specific plant and animal societies can then be attributed to them (cf. Sukopp 1990).

Numerous studies of flora and fauna in the Berlin urban area have been made. They clarify the sometimes critical influence of local climatic conditions on the variety of resident species. The specific value of the bog habitat type in climatically uninfluenced locations outside the city, for example, lies particularly in its very high number of more rare and endangered subarctic species. These species have survived as "relics of the late ice-age". They are bound directly to the extreme climatic conditions with very low minimum temperatures over the entire year and great variations of temperature (Working Group Species Protection Program 1984 - Arbeitsgruppe Artenschutzprogramm 1984).
In the same way there is a narrow connection between the occurrence of the bloom of Crimean linden (Tilia x euchlora) and the degree of the temperature modification compared with open land conditions. Thus, the coefficient of correlation between the urban climate zones and the bloom data is so high, that a inference on a certain urban climate zone is possible, if the bloom data are known (cp. Otto 2007). It can be assumed that a rasing of the temperature about 1 Kelvin leads to a earlier start date of the "First bloom" of three up to five days" (cp. ibid., S. 120).

Urban climate conditions can also facilitate the immigration or dissemination of other species. Certain plants and animals find suitable habitats in the urban heat island; such as ailanthus (Ailanthus altissima), robinia, and summer lilac; and numerous amphibians and invertebrates. The climatic characteristics of the inner city such as excessive warming, excessive humidity, and low cooling rates can have high negative bio-climatic effects on humans in the summer.

The Climate Function Map (Map 04.07, SenStadtUm 2001) has been developed to present the essential data contained here so as to be used for planning purposes.

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