Evaluation and application of a low-cost measurement network to study intra-urban temperature differences during summer 2018 in Bern, Switzerland

Gubler, Moritz; Christen, Andreas; Remund, Jan; Brönnimann, Stefan (2021). Evaluation and application of a low-cost measurement network to study intra-urban temperature differences during summer 2018 in Bern, Switzerland. Urban climate, 37, p. 100817. Elsevier 10.1016/j.uclim.2021.100817

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The understanding of intra-urban air temperature variations is crucial to assess strategies for cities' adaptation to impacts of present and future anthropogenic climate change. Depending on extensive measurement networks, high-resolution air temperature measurements in urban environments are challenging due to high instrumentation and maintenance costs. Here, we present a low-cost measurement device (LCD) consisting of a temperature logger and a custom-made, naturally ventilated radiation shield. Besides intercomparisons with automated weather stations (AWS) at three reference sites during record-dry summer 2018, we tested the potential of the devices using a network of 79 LCDs to assess the intra-urban variability of urban heat island (UHI) patterns in the city of Bern, Switzerland. We found positive mean measurement biases between LCDs and AWS of 0.61 to 0.93 K (RMSE: 0.78 to 1.17 K) during daytime, of which up to 82.8% of the variance could be explained statistically by solar irradiance (radiative heating) and wind speed (insufficient ventilation). During night, average measurement biases were markedly lower and eventually negative with −0.12 to 0.23 K (RMSE: 0.19 to 0.34 K). Our results highlight the importance of sensor intercomparisons being conducted at multiple locations with differing urban land-cover, structure, and metabolism given that biases varied considerably between the reference sites. Data retrieved by the city-wide measurement network showed that the LCD approach is well suited for the analysis of spatiotemporal UHI patterns during night and adds considerable value compared to the few existing AWS in detecting fine-scale air temperature variability. In conclusion, the current LCD measurement approach represents a valuable option for cost-effective analyses of urban air temperature variability across multiple scales, which may be of particular value for the development, appliance, and monitoring of adaptation strategies to climate change in cities with restricted financial resources.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Climatology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Gubler, Moritz Raffael, Brönnimann, Stefan


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History > 910 Geography & travel








Moritz Raffael Gubler

Date Deposited:

06 Apr 2021 16:50

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:49

Publisher DOI:






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