High Density Measurements within the Urban Environment
The BUCL research team will initially be focusing efforts on the NERC-funded HiTemp project to examine Birmingham's Urban Heat Island (UHI). The project will see Birmingham having the densest air temperature-sensor network in the world and will lead to a number of research projects examining Birmingham's UHI in more detail than ever-before possible.
The long-term aim of the HiTemp project is to identify, model and promote adaptation to the impacts of urban heat and climate change on the people and infrastructure of major conurbations (i.e. health, society, infrastructure and energy).
HiTemp will see networks of meteorological sensors installed within the Birmingham conurbation: Approximately 250 low-cost, battery-powered WiFi air temperature sensors (Figure 2) and 30 full automatic weather stations (AWS), measuring temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, pressure, solar radiation. The design is based around a nested network of sensors:
- Network 1 (coarse array): 30 AWS will be sited in primary electricity sub-stations (average spacing of 3km)
- Network 2 (wide array): 150 air temperature sensors located on schools (one in every medium super output area (MSOA), or areas containing a population of 7,200)
- Network 3 (fine array): 100 air temperature sensors located on lampposts in the CBD (50/km2)
Both of the air temperature sensor networks will utilise existing WiFi networks (i.e. school and public WiFi networks), whilst the AWS network will utilise either GPRS or wired internet connections. The project will ultimately provide a series of demonstration sensor networks for measuring air temperature and other meteorological parameters.
Industrial project partners include Birmingham City Council, who are interested in assessing heat health risk across Birmingham; E.ON/Western Power, who are interested in examining the impacts of heat and climate change on transformers; Campbell Scientific, who are supplying some of the meteorological equipment; and Aginova, who are developing and supplying the bespoke WiFi air temperature sensor.