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The success of the alert system to combat the heat waves

The Cooltorise project develops a tool to work towards climate resilience

During the summer of 2023 – from June to September – a pilot of an alert system for high temperatures and heat waves has been implemented in the Barcelona area. The tool is intended to inform citizens about the risk of high temperatures of the metropolitan area of the city of Barcelona (Spain), particularly to users that might be in a vulnerable situation. The final goal is to create a tool that helps citizens face and adapt to the heat at home.

This is an action carried out within the framework of the Cooltorise project, financed by the European Union’s H2020 program, on summer energy poverty, in which the ABD and Ecoserveis participate.

The system worked thanks to local weather forecasts and was scheduled to be activated on days with forecast temperatures above 33.5 ºC during the day, or higher than 25 ºC during the night (the so-called torrid nights). In these cases, the protocols for sending messages were activated – the alerts contained domestic tips to combat the heat, as well as relevant information about the services offered by the city to deal with the high temperatures (such as the network of climate shelters or the energy points, to name a few examples).

Very positive outcomes

The implemented device sent messages warning about heat waves to a database of more than 3,000 people, delivering a total of nearly 15,000 e-mails.

The messages have been very well received for the citizens who were involved in the pilot. On average, 36,18% of the people who received the messages read them, indicating that more than 1.000 people were able to benefit from the information provided by the service in each alert.

Of the overall information that was sent, the link that had the most attention from the users was the one referencing the Climate Shelter Network, especially when the alert was sent for the heat wave during mid-august.

How hot has this summers’ been?

While it is true that the temperatures have not been as high as in the summer of 2022, we can affirm that the summer of 2023 has also presented temperatures above the climate records.

We highlight the night of August the 23rd when the temperature did not drop below 29.5°C in Barcelona. According to the Fabra Observatory, this has been an historical temperature record over the last 100 years.

Below we share a collection of the maximum and minimum temperatures recorded by the Fabra Observatory during this year’s summer period, where the high temperatures recorded are observed.

An opportunity to deal with climate change in urban areas

The climate alert system of the Cooltorise project has been very useful to test a new service that wants to help families and citizens of Barcelona adapt to climate change and have more climate resilience. This experience has had the positive results showed before, and also prepares the way to continue developing tools to empower citizens with accurate information that helps them combat the effects of climate change in the city of Barcelona.

With all, we hope that tools like these can be implemented in other municipalities, so more citizens from all over the country benefit from it – especially those who might be in vulnerable situations. For more information about the alert system and other summer energy poverty mitigation activities carried out by the Cooltorise project, you can consult the website.

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