In Barcelona, trees temper the Mediterranean city climate


As a Mediterranean coastal city, Barcelona is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Its high population density also magnifies the local heat island effect which causes an array of health and environmental challenges.

Climate change projections include a rise in average temperature and a significant decrease in rainfall, with expected lasting droughts and intense heat waves.

In response, Barcelona has committed to becoming a global model of a sustainable city combating urban development challenges related to climate change and population density. In this context, Barcelona has been focusing on planting and managing trees for many years and currently is completing a Trees Master Plan 2015-2035, in lines with the goal of the Barcelona Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Plan 2020 (BGIBP).

With regard to their climate adaptation benefits, trees modify the urban microclimate and temper the climate conditions by providing cooling through shade and transpiration. In addition, the reflection of sunlight by the leaves lowers the temperature in pedestrian areas and the shade protects people from the sun, especially during the hottest months. Furthermore, trees can prevent possible local flooding by helping to reduce the amount of storm water runoff.

Extracted from a case study of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy – Read the full case study here.

© photo Barcelona City Council

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Author

Floriane Cappelletti

Publication date

September 28, 2016