The TREASURE Project

Objectives of the Project

Why is this project necessary?

In the decade from 1998 to 2009 heat waves was the most prominent hazard in Europe causing more than 70 000 excess deaths during the extreme summer of 2003. In August 2003, for 9 consecutive days, the Paris metropolitan area experienced an extreme heat wave that caused 4867 estimated heat-related deaths. Exposure to climate change is relevant for identifying the potentially affected populations and the subsequent risk. Extreme temperature events are normal features of inter-annual temperature variability, but their frequency and intensity have increased both in Western and Central Europe as well as in Mediterranean regions. Deeper analysis of the 2003 heat wave, using longer time series, comes to the conclusion that it can be regarded as extremely unusual under the dominant European climate conditions of the twentieth century, while under conditions of climate change it might become more frequent. Heat waves have a major impact primarily on human health and socio-economics.

Heat wave hazard varies within a metropolitan area due to specific characteristics such as topography, land cover/ land use, meteorological conditions and the presence of the Urban Heat Island phenomenon. On the other hand, population vulnerability to heat waves varies with age- primarily the elderly and also the infants being more vulnerable to high temperatures, and it is higher in urban areas due to higher population numbers and density. Health condition, poverty and isolation are also influential factors. From the above, it is expected that heat wave risk, being the combination of heat wave impact and probability of occurrence, is high in large cities. However, timely preventive measures can reduce the risk. A key problem is to prioritise the areas (districts/ boroughs) within the metropolitan area to target long-term planning.

At the moment heat wave risk estimations rely on data (usually) from a single, centrally-located weather station in each city and they are broadly applied to entire urban areas or rely on short-term weather forecasts lacking however any explicit spatial dimension. Appraisal and quantification of spatially distributed heat wave risk currently and in the future are required to develop innovative tools and services for the subsequent design of targeted measures and strategies. Taking all the above into consideration, TREASURE- for the first time- integrates the expertise of epidemiologists, climatologists, Earth Observation scientists and IT developers into intelligent heat wave risk assessments for authorities and personalised tools for citizens all in accordance to Hyogo and UNISDR international initiatives. TREASURE will issue guidelines and disseminate its results via targeted actions. The approach will be applied and tested originally on two Mediterranean cities with different characteristics, and will set the grounds for application to any other European city together with the development of urban heat wave resilience strategies. Our vision is to make TREASURE a point of reference for Civil Protection mechanisms at European level.

Actions and Means Involved

How will we get there?

TREASURE covers the fields of analysis and understanding on the one hand, and decision making and action on the other. Satellite technology will be employed to evaluate the spatial distribution of urban heat wave hazard, via spatio-temporal analysis of land surface temperatures, whilst climatologic models will provide climate change scenarios for the following decades. Heat-related morbidity/mortality data and their appropriate analysis from Epidemiologists will quantify the spatially distributed heat wave risk in cities. Intelligent modelling will be engaged to develop tools for risk reduction for the authorities and the citizens. Based on the above, tools, guidelines, studies, workshops and a table-top exercise will enhance exchange of expertise and good practices, share and disseminate the TREASURE services to national and local users (Civil Protection and Health Authorities).

Expected Results

What should we expect?

The advancements of our approach include, among others, (i) the identification of risk zones and analyses for preparedness planning; (ii) the study of intra-urban variability; (iii) the evaluation of climatic trends in urban areas; (iv) the comparison between cities; (v) the urban risk quantification via epidemiological studies; (vi) the assessment of impact of socioeconomic parameters (poverty, isolation, housing); (vii) the identification of the best climate change adaptation strategies; (viii) the exploitation of space data for the estimation of heat wave risk; (ix) the assessment of future climate change in terms of heat wave discomfort; (x) the development of urban resilience strategies through the familiarisation of authorities and citizens with the modern risk evaluation services; (xi) the sharing of good practises among experts and between countries; (xii) the enhancement and strengthening of European cooperation in climate change adaptation; (xiii) the creation of new and strengthening of existing collaborations among scientists, policy makers, elected officials, corporate sustainability leaders, engineers, planners and other experts.

National Technical University of Athens


National Observatory of Athens


National and Kapodistrian University of Athens


AnySolution SL