Full text: Adapting to the impacts of climate change in Berlin – AFOK

Climate Protection Part Concept

Adapting to the Impacts
of Climate Change in Berlin – AFOK
Executive Summary

1. Introduction									4
Climate Change and Adaptation				
Berlin acts									6
2. Regional Climate in Berlin 2050 and 2100					
Methodology									8
Climate Signals in Detail							9
3. Vulnerability and Measures 							10
Action Area Human Health and Civil Protection					
Action Area Buildings, Urban Development, Green and Public Space		
Action Area Water Supply and Distribution					
Action Area Environment and Nature						18
Action Area Energy Supply and Waste Management				
Action Area Industry, Services and Financial Sector				
Action Area Traffic								22
Action Area Tourism, Culture, Sports						23
Action Area Education								24
4. Making Adaptation Happen							25
Implementation								25
Monitoring									25
Communication								25
5. Conclusion									26
Glossary										27
This brochure is a summary of the draft for an ‘Adaptation Concept of the Impact of Climate Change in
Berlin’ (AFOK), which has been developed from end of 2014 to early 2016 on behalf of the Berlin Senate
Department for Urban Development and Environment. It has been funded by the Federal Ministry for the
Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safty (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit, BMUB).
The AFOK final report has two parts: Part I: Main report. Part II: Supplementary Material. The report has
been published by a research consortium led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in
July 2016: Reusswig, F.; Becker, C.; Lass, W.; Haag, L.; Hirschfeld, J.; Knorr, A.; Lüdeke, M.K.B.; Neuhaus, A.;
Pankoke, C.; Rupp, J., Walther, C.; Walz, S.; Weyer, G.; Wiesemann, E. (2016): Anpassung an die Folgen des
Klimawandels in Berlin (AFOK). Klimaschutz Teilkonzept. Teil I: Hauptbericht; Teil II: Materialien. Potsdam,
Berlin. Juli 2016 [Adaptation Concept of the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin (AFOK). Climate Protection
Partial Concept. Part I: Main Report; Part II: Supplementing Material; available in German only]. Juli 2016.

Download of the AFOK final report at:


Adapting to Climate Change | General Interest for the Growing City

Adapting to climate change:
A general interest for the growing city
The world‘s climate is changing.
The effects are also felt in Berlin.
They will accelerate, as we stand
at the beginning of a profound
change. For our growing city,
this represents a major challenge. We must find ways to further strengthen Berlin not only
as an economic, social and cultural center, but also to develop
it in carbon neutral and climate-adapted manner. This is
the only way to avert or to reduce the damage to the city
and its citizens. We will ensure that - even under modified
climatic conditions - Berlin’s growth will continue to contribute to our goal: maintain Berlin’s qualities as an attractive, efficient and livable European metropolis.
For this purpose, we will implement the tools we have developed together with the urban community, such as the
Urban Development Concept (StEK) 2030, the Berlin Energy
and Climate Protection Programme (BEK) 2030, or many
other specific plans and projects. With the Berlin Energy
Transition Act (Berliner Energiewendegesetz, EWG Bln),
which came into effect by April 5, 2016, we dispose of the
legal basis also for a comprehensive adaptation process.
On behalf of my administration, the Potsdam Institute for
Climate Impact Research has in collaboration with other
partners and experts, elaborated a ‘Berlin Concept for Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change’ (AFOK). It provides the strategic framework for adapting nature, the
economy and society to climate change while at the same
time preserving the quality of urban life.
This brochure is meant to bring the AFOK closer to you and
shall help to develop an understanding and passion for the
future task of climate change adaptation.

Adaptation or mitigation, which
is a priority in facing climate
change risks? The unequivocal
answer is: both. Both are essential. Therefore, it is good that
Berlin does both. The Berlin
Energy and Climate Protection
Programme want to reduce the
emission of greenhouse gases
and aims at carbon neutrality
until 2050. The ‘Berlin Concept for Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change’ (AFOK) presents another building
block for Berlin’s climate policy. We are pleased that this is
happening on the solid ground of science, and that the
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was
able to assist in the elaboration of both concepts.
We must now renounce fossil fuels, if we want to limit climate change to a manageable level. The immediate reduction of emissions and divestment are important tools: withdrawing public funds from climate-damaging investments
in coal or oil in order to put the released funds in clean and
sustainable technologies. The ‘Paris Accord’, enacted at the
COP 21 in December 2015, has set clear goals here.
Even a climate neutral Berlin will have to adapt to a changing climate. We have already deposited too much CO2 in the
atmosphere; it will remain effective there for centuries. Our
Earth responds slowly however relentlessly to climate
change. Climate change is a global reality already today,
even in Germany. Heat waves and extreme rain events are
increasing. Without adaptation, the consequences of climate change in Berlin would lead to considerable damages.
All the more important it is that the Berlin Senate now
quickly starts with the implementation of the measures
provided by AFOK.

Andreas Geisel

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber

Senator for Urban Development and Environment

Director of the Potsdam-Institute
for Climate Impacts Research


1. Introduction
Adaptation to climate change – a challenge for Berlin
Since the beginning of industrialisation, the Global Mean Temperature
(GMT) has been gradually rising. Scientific research has shown that humankind is responsible for the major
part of this increase. Therefore, it is
called anthropogenic - caused by humans - climate change.
The major driving force is primarily
the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil,
and natural gas), large-scale deforestation, and agricultural production, not
at least livestock. The related emission of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4,
N2O, and others) is changing the
chemical composition of the atmosphere and hence its radiation balance.
While the global mean temperature
has been rising by about 0.8 °C during
the past 100 years, Europe has been
warming by about 1.3 °C in the same
period. According to IPCC, this warming is accompanied by the change of
rainfall patterns, melting glaciers and
polar ice caps, rising sea levels and increasing weather extremes.
The first decade of the 21st
century is among the world‘s
warmest years since the beginning
weather records more than
100 years ago.
In terms of temperature, the years
2014 and 2015 have been Germany’s
hottest two years since the beginning
of instrumental measurement in


Climate change has just begun. Due to
the inertia of the climate system, the
temperature continues to rise even if
we should succeed to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at current levels.
However, that is not to be expected.
Despite the Paris Agreement, signed
at the end of 2015, global emissions
continue to rise. If this trend is to be
upheld, the global mean temperature
might increase to a range of 2 to 6 °C
by 2100.
Berlin will inevitably be affected. Our city is adjusted to
a past climate that we assume
to be ‘normal’. The same applies to our environment, as
well as to people, buildings
and the urban infrastructure.
The expectable climate change will
modify this historical ‘fit’ of the city
and its climate in an historical unprecedented manner. Our understanding
of what is being normal will be considerably shifted. The record heat wave
summer of 2003, claimed at least
50,000 lives and additional heat stress
related deaths in this unusually warm
summer. By 2050, this kind of summer
will become a normal one. By 2100,
the summer of 2003 will be felt as a
particularly cold one.

Berlin must actively adapt in order to
reduce the damages from future climate change, but also to exploit the
future opportunities that climate
change might bring. It is in no way
sufficient to wait and see, or hope for
the spontaneous adaptive capacity of
the urban society. The latter will be
needed. But it cannot be activated
with­out reliable future climate scenarios, without a detailed analysis of vulnerabilities and coordinated adapta­
tion strategy by the Senate of Berlin.
AFOK forms a basis for all this.

Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin | Introduction



Fig. 1: According to the AFOK scenarios, Berlin’s climate (monthly temperature and rainfall patterns) of 2100 will resemble today’s climate of the
city of Toulouse in Southern France.










In 2100, Berlin might have
the climate that Toulouse
has today






















Berlin acts: The AFOK as part of an overall strategy for adaptation to climate change

Berlin Climate Model
Concept for adaptation to the
impacts of climate change –
„„ Berlin climate scenarios 2050/2100
„„ 	Vulnerability of the city
„„ 	Action areas for risk prevention +
climate adaptation
„„ 	Interdisciplinary action plan

„„ Current climate situation 2015
„„ 	Planning guide to maintain urban
climate functions

Urban Development Plan
Climate – KONKRET
„„ Guiding themes , strategies, and
urban planning measures
„„ 	Water sensitive urban development
„„ 	Heat adapted urban growth

Fig. 2: Core elements of Berlin’s
climate change adaptation strategy.

Not just since cooperating with the AFOK Berlin has started
taking charge of climate change impacts and how to deal
with it. The first report on the consequences of climate
change for Berlin was already issued as early as 2009, and
in 2011 the Urban Development Plan Climate (StEP Klima)
was presented by the Senate. In 2015/16 an updated ver­
sion has been worked out, focusing on the specific challenges of Berlin’s recent growth. StEP Klima KONKRET (StEP Climate Concrete) is addressing future climate change under a
deliberately space-oriented planning perspective. Since
2016, the Environmental Atlas, Berlin’s map and info server


on environmental issues, provides a new climate model
(‘Planning Advices Urban Climate’), showing what areas
suffer from adverse climatic conditions already today, and
where Berlin has capability of relief.
The AFOK is addressing Berlin’s future climate and it selects
a sectoral, not a space perspective. It thus takes up the objectives of the Berlin Energy Transition Act (EWG Bln), stipulating the improved adaptive capacity of natural, social and
economic systems as well as the preservation of the functionality of urban infrastructures and the quality of life as
an obligation for the Berlin Senate.

to the
die Folgen
of Climate
des Klimawandels
Change in in
| Introduction
| Einleitung

Fig. 3: Formation steps of AFOK final report

Desk top research

Structured stakeholder

with other projects

sensitivity analysis
Climate signal patterns
(weather butterfly)
Regionalised climate projections

data evaluation

Stakeholder workshops

Path model climate
impacts Berlin
adaptation measures

Communication Workshop

Monitoring concept

Communication concept


final Report
Together with StEP Climate/StEP Climate KONKRET and the
Planning Advices Urban Climate, the AFOK provides a powerful framework for an overall climate adaptation strategy
for Berlin. Based on current global and regional scenarios it
describes the climatic changes that Berlin is facing in the
near (2050) and distant (2100) future and identifies against
this background the vulnerabilities for various socio-ecological sectors. In addition, AFOK offers strategic starting
points and concrete proposals of measures that aim to actively counteract future challenges and to reduce damages
if possible.

AFOK has been worked out in a transdisciplinary work process and in a close dialogue with the expert community and
the administration. More than 100 people brought their
knowledge and experience into the process via stakeholder
interviews and three workshops.

Fig. 4: At the AFOK stakeholder workshops the expert
public was able to discuss two major issues in plenary
and group discussions: ‘What are the future impacts of
climate change for Berlin?’ (vulnerability) and
‘What can we do about it?’ (measures).


2. Regional Climate in Berlin 2050 and 2100
Since we cannot predict the future climate, we have to assess it based upon climate models. Currently there is a multitude of them, each endowed with specific strengths and
weaknesses. There is no way to tell with certainty today
which one will have been the one that has predicted the
future correctly. It would therefore unwise to put all eggs in
one basket and rely on only one climate model. For some
time past a so-called scientific standard has generally been
accepted to consider model ensembles which means includ-

ing several future models. This has been done in this report.
For the vulnerability analysis and the development of measures of AFOK, 12 combinations of six regional and five global climate models were used. A standard parameter served
as an emission scenario that assumes global warming in
the range of 2.6 ° to 4.8 °C until the end of the 21st

Cold spell

Repeated heat
wave years

Heat wave
< 3 weeks

Fig. 5: The three key climate phenomena temperature, precipitation,
and wind and the expected trends in different temporal characteristics (the AFOK ‘Weather Butterfly’).


Hot day


Raising temperatures in the Berlin region have already been observed in
the recent past. For the near future,
a further increase in the average
daily maximum temperatures of
about 1.2 °C, for the distant future
additional 3.2 °C can be expected.
This increase will be particularly
striking during autumn and winter.
Summers in Berlin will also become
warmer. Towards the mid of the
century, summers will be about 1 °C
warmer than today, towards the end
about 3 °C. It is one of the ‘hallmarks’ of
climate change that the extreme values
will increase more markedly than the averages.






The variable wind speed is the most difficult one to derive
from the models. Until 2100, the model combinations used
here do not show a clear trend of increased or decreased
storm events. But uncertainties are quite high.



Frost day


cold years


warm years

< 3 weeks

Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin | Regional Climate in Berlin 2050 and 2100

Climate Signals in detail
As a result, one therefore does not receive a single value for
a specific climate parameter per time unit, but a frequency
distribution of the various model results. As a basis for the
AFOK vulnerability assessment and the development of
measures, we assumed the range of outcomes that a majority of two thirds of the models used predicted.Sub-

sequently, from the entire time span covered by the models
until 2100 two focus periods have been selected as benchmarks for the AFOK impact assessment: the ‘time slice’
from 2031 to 2060 (termed ‘near future’), and the 20712100 period (termed ‘distant future’). The most relevant
model results have been summarized graphically in the socalled ‘weather butterfly’ (cf. Figure 5), systematizing the
key weather parameters in their respective characteristic in

Increased heavy
rain events

< 3 weeks


Strong increase

Strong decrease



No change

No projection possible

Increase of multiannual rain events






< 3 weeks






Due to climate change, Berlin will
experience an increase of average
annual precipitation of about 3 to
10% (near future) and 7.5 to 18%
(distant future). The strongest increase can be expected in spring and
winter, while it will be less marked in
Subsequent years
with dry periods
autumn and, especially, in summer.
Particularly important is a trend in extremes: the increase of heavy rain events
(more than 10mm precipitation per day).
Currently, Berlin sees about 11 of these events
per year. Under climate change, there will be
about 15 (near future) or 17 (distant future) events
per year.
As the temperatures will increase especially during winter, Berlin will have considerably less snow in the future. Despite an average increase in precipitation, we
will experience more dry periods, combined with periods of heavy rainfall at other times.


3. Vulnerabilities and Measures
How vulnerable is Berlin to climate change impacts? The
vulnerability of the city depends on several factors. The first
one is the concrete character of climatic changes that have
to be expected, such as temperature, precipitation, and
wind, as has been shown in chapter 2. But the extent of
potential loss due to climatic changes does also depend
upon two further factors. Firstly, the exposition of something or somebody to weather signals is important. Heat
waves for example will affect people working outside much
heavier than people sitting in air -conditioned offices. The
‘exposition’ of the former is much higher than that of the
latter. A second factor is the ‘sensitivity’ of a system. Small
children or chronically ill people for example are much more
sensitive to the risks of enduring heat waves than healthy

A final decisive factor that determines the vulnerability of a
system is its adaptive capacity. If urban infrastructures,
buildings, organizational routines and individual behaviour
are attuned to changing boundary conditions, their adaptive capacity will increase and their vulnerability decreases.
This is exactly what the AFOK measures aim at: reducing or
even avoiding potential losses and thus reducing Berlin’s
In the following, the assessment of vulnerability to climate
change will be presented separately for different fields of
action, as exposition, sensitivity and adaptive capacity vary
from sector to sector.

Berlin is not an island –
Indirect effects of climate change
Climate change is a global phenomenon and its consequences will be felt differently across the world. Due to its
geographical location in the center of Europe, its role as the
German capital and the diverse functional interrelations
Berlin is also indirectly vulnerable to climate impacts that
occur elsewhere - for example, in southern Germany, France
or Africa. In addition to the risks posed by so-called ‘tipping
points’ in the climate system (such as the weakening of the
Gulf stream), the following indirect effects can be observed
in part already today:
„„ Environmental and climate refugees: In addition to
many other causes, there are also increasing extreme
events like floods and droughts that threaten the livelihoods of millions of people, especially in developing
countries. For many of them flight is the only escape.
Europe and Berlin are increasingly becoming the target
„„ 	Foreign trade: Berlin’s industry is heavily dependent on
exports (50 percent) and import also plays a major role.


Besides the EU, the regional focus is on the United
States of America, Russia, Turkey and the Asia-Pacific
region. Climate change affects markets and supply
„„ 	Tourism: in 2015 foreign guests booked 45% of all overnight stays in Berlin. Travelers could carry diseases or
be directly affected by climate change.
„„ 	Transport: Via its roads, rail, aviation and waterways,
Berlin is connected to the world. Impairments caused by
storms, heat waves or heavy rainfall elsewhere can lead
to severe disruptions in Berlin.
„„ 	Power supply: Berlin’s power grid is mainly placed underground and thus less vulnerable to weather extremes. However, due to its power import of about 40%,
Berlin remains vulnerable towards weather impacts on
the German and European power grids.
Adaptation to climate change at national and global levels
will indirectly reduce Berlin’s vulnerability. Successful adaptation in Berlin does not only help its local citizens.

Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin | Vulnerabilities and Measures

Action Area Human Health
and Civil Protection
The health of Berlin’s population will be affected by climate
change not only due to gradual changes of weather parameters, but also by an increased amount of weather extremes
(e.g. heavy rain, heat waves).
Among minor complications such as sleep disturbance or
impaired labour productivity, hot days and heat waves can
lead to cardiovascular emergencies (up to heat strokes),
cases of dehydration (the ‘drying out’ due to lack of fluid
intake), and respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; COPD).
Particularly distressing for the human organism is the presence of several hot days in a row,
in which even at night no appreciable cooling
occurs and most people cannot really recuperate.
Studies suggest that heat stress results in a 43% higher
mortality risk, especially in patients with chronic lung disease. Overall, especially the elderly, sick people and young
children are at risk. Growing population numbers with a significant increase of the very old - so the demographic forecasts for Berlin - indicate an even higher future vulnerability. The result: an increase in hospital admissions (morbidity)
and deaths (mortality). According to studies, Berlin has already experienced about 1,400 additional heat related
deaths annually in the 2001 to 2010 period.
But climate change also entails ‘creeping’ health dangers,
as living conditions for plants, animals and microorganisms
gradually. This also allows new pathogens – usually mediated through new or native disease carriers (‘vectors’ such as
mice, mosquitoes or ticks) – to settle areas that have been
thus far ‘blocked’ to them by unfavourable weather conditions. Ticks for example, which can transmit Lyme disease,
have not been a major problem for Berlin so far, could become more frequent here due to milder winters.

Fig. 6: Children need special skin protection against
solar radiation.

Fig. 7: Climate change
could increase skin
cancer cases.

Fig. 8: ‘Ambrosia Network Berlin’: Ragweed
eradication action in
Berlin Adlershof on
June 26, 2015.

Fig. 9: Climate change increases the risk that
vector-borne diseases
spread out – here Aedes

Fig. 10: Sufficient fluid intake is particularly important for seniors.


Climate change may also lead to the appearance of new
host organisms, bringing along pathogens of diseases
hitherto unknown in our latitudes. Exotic species such as
Aedes albopictus or Aedes japonicus propagate to northern
latitudes. For none of these species proven evidence exists
in the Berlin area, but they have already reached the geographical latitude of Berlin. Pyrexical tropical diseases, with
often fatal outcomes, can occur more often. However, remaining uncertainties are high and hence further research
is needed.

„„Upgrading of early warning systems
„„Improvement of individual physical fitness
„„Adjustment of medication and counselling
„„Augmenting rescue services and civil protection
„„(Elderly) care programme for climate adaptation
„„Hospital programme for climate adaptation
„„Securing a sufficient drinking supply
„„Adaptation/ improvement of operational health
and safety
„„Flexibility of working and opening times
„„Heat adapted food and beverage offers
„„Exploration of climate-related health risks
„„Allergy-sensitive landscape planning

Influenced by climate change one can already today verify
prolonged blossom periods of plants, associated with higher burdens on people suffering from pollinosis (allergies,
which are transmitted through the air). Currently about
700,000 Berliners are suffering from pollinosis today, and
climate change will most probably increase the number of
people affected. If not treated, chronic asthma is looming.
High dust levels in the air, a typical concomitant of heat
waves, are additionally promoting the occurrence of allergies.

Another point of concern in Berlin is Ambrosia artemisiifolia, or common ragweed. This plant, an invasive species
from North America, produces highly allergenic pollen and
finds more favourable living conditions in the course of climate change. The same is true for the oak processionary:
The backs of older caterpillars are covered with poisonous
hairs containing an urticating toxin, which may cause skin
irritation and asthma. In hot and dry conditions the oak
processionary is spreading as a dreaded forest pest. Finally,
the increasing risk of skin cancer due to an increased solar
exposure must not be underestimated: Skin cancer
ranges among the ten most common cancers in
Berlin between 2000 and 2014 - with a tendency to
The Berlin population must be made aware of
the risks of climate change. We need a coordinated early warning system for heat events
that effectively reaches those at risk in hospitals, day care centres, nursing homes, and
day care organisations.
Doctors and pharmacists play an important role as
competent and community multipliers. The first
successful attempts at the Berlin Charité show: as a
perspective, we need the climate-adapted hospital
to protect vulnerable patient groups against heat
stress. The drinking water supply in public places
must be gradually expanded on a low threshold
(drinking fountain) network. Particularly exposed
occupational groups need to be better protected. In
the long run, the working and operating hours have to come
to the test bed. In a hooter climate, food can spoil more
easily and should be better checked accordingly. During
hotter phases, canteens should offer lighter meals. In general, we need better health monitoring, more research on
the specific effects of climate change on public health, and
an urban and open space planning that supports changing
public health requirements.

Fig. 11: Rescuers are facing new challenges under climate
change – for example in support of major events.


Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin | Vulnerabilities and Measures

New challenges for civil protection
In addition to the Senate, the districts and the Berlin
Fire Department, many private relief and rescue organisations are important actors of civil protection: the
Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund e.V. (ASB) for example, or the
German Red Cross (DRK), the volunteer fire fighters
(FF), the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V. (JUH), the Malteser
Hilfsdienst (MHD) or the Federal Agency for Technical
Relief (THW) are important pillars of the Berlin civil
The adaptive capacity of the Berlin rescue services and
civil protection – especially of the Fire Department as a
core – can be classified as high. However, climate
change will be associated with an increase in weather
induced everyday risks, such as floods, emergencies
due to heat stress, and – to a lesser degree – more fires

due to more summer dry periods. More heat peaks and
more heavy rainfall will occur in future summers in
close succession, confronting the emergency services
with new challenges. The so-called ‘extraordinary incidents’ will occur more often, asking for an improved
coordination of the Fire Department, the police, and
public as well as private rescue services. The Berlin Fire
Department already today is offering disaster information and warning services for smartphones, SMS and
E-mail (KATWARN). More people need to be interested
in the use of these systems. In the medium term the
vehicle fleet in the emergency services must be restocked, education and training have to take into
account new risk situations, and the public needs to be
included into the civil protection system.


Action area Buildings, Urban Development, Green and Public Space
Due to their dense construction volume, their reduced
evaporation and the multiple barriers to the exchange of
air, cities are significantly warmer than their surrounding
countryside. This phenomenon is also known as ‘Urban
Heat Island’ (UHI) effect.
The core urban areas within the Berlin S-BahnRing are on average around 5 °C warmer than the
mostly open areas of the surroundings of Berlin.
Thereby the built urban surface is increasing the health risks
of its inhabitants due to the expected higher temperatures,
especially in summer. Intermittent dry periods set the urban
parks under stress. And the increase in heavy rain events will
lead to more flooding in highly sealed urban space - road
sections and basement are under water, underground shafts
are in danger, the sewers are overstretched.

Although Berlin has experienced such events repeatedly in
recent years, they are only the foretaste of what has to be
expected in the long run. At the same time Berlin is growing
– most recently by about 40,000 people per year, partly due
to global migration processes. The construction of new residential buildings has a high priority, and in addition to
homes, job opportunities, schools etc. need to be built.
The ‘compact city of short distances’ is still
the paradigm of urban development. It additionally offers many advantages for the goals of climate protection. When it comes to climate adaptation, however, the urban fabric needs to be
more open and requires de-densification.
This is a charged relationship, but not necessarily an irresolvable contradiction. Because with good planning we may
well have both: more housing and simultaneously more cli-

Fig. 12: Adaptation potential in the compressed perimeter block development.

Cooling green spaces

Securing the ventilation / air exchange
between green areas and courtyards
Parking spaces as temporary
storage areas in case of heavy rain
Bright colours and shading elements
on south-facing facades


Simple façade greening
for the building stock
Streets and squares
as wellness places

Small parks as wellness places,
unsealing of courtyards
Albedo roofs
In re-densified areas/
new buildings:
- Blue-green roofs as a
retention area
- Intensive facade greening
preferably at sun-exposed

Shading from trees,
preferably on the south side


Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin | Vulnerabilities and Measures

matic relief in the city. The two can go
together if we not only consider the
urban green surface area, but also its
density and its multiple functions. If
„„Protecting climatic relief areas
strategically important green areas
„„Creation of qualified green and open spaces, systematic
are upgraded and retrofitted for clistrategy of roof and facade greening
mate change, Berlin can well benefit
„„Increasing the resilience of urban green
from the cooling and evaporation of
„„Climatic decoupling of new construction projects
its green areas – even without an in„„Climatic qualification of city surface
crease of them.
„„Climate adaptation strategies at the neighbourhood level
The superior goal of all these meas„„Pilot projects on climate adaptation
ures is to rebuild and re-qualify the
„„Climate-proofing of existing planning instruments
city surface in such a way that even a
„„Provide cooled rooms during heat
growing Berlin can maintain its quali„„Limitation of conventional air conditioners
ty of life in the face of climate change.
„„Better information for tenants and owners
If strategic green and open spaces are
„„Public debate on storm water management
protected, if a systematic roof and facade greening is implemented, if the
remaining urban green is revalued, if
sealed areas become permeable for
manner. A new handling of water in the city (see box ‘sponge
precipitation, if green comfort zones are built into the urcity’ on page 17) complements these physical measures.
ban quarters, then Berlin can grow in a climate-adapted

Fig. 13, 14: Shadowed public spaces in the urban centre, heat protection
inoptimized facades


Action Area Water Supply and Distribution
Each year approximately 522 million m3 rain water is falling
onto the city region of Berlin. About 321 million m3 of this
volume seeps away, 142 million m3 seep away into the
ground, and almost 70 million m3 are discharged via the
sewage system. According to the AFOK scenarios two trends

„„Decoupling of rainwater management from
centralised systems
„„Flood-fit design of surfaces
„„Adapting infrastructures to heavy rain events
„„Adapting infrastructures to drought and heat
„„(Drinking) water quality protection
„„Increasing climatic effectiveness of water bodies
„„	Expansion of the drinking fountain network
„„Creation of bathing facilities and swimming pools
„„Water sensitive climate adaptation as public issue
„„Information for vulnerable urban areas
„„Exploration of climate change effects on water balance

are particularly noteworthy: first, the annual precipitation
will increase until 2050 by about 3 to 10 percent, and until
2100 by about 8 to 18 percent, particularly during winter.
Secondly, under climate change we can expect an increase
in heavy rain events, between about 14 and 40 percent by
2050, and about 22 to 80 percent by 2100. This results in a
number of risks.
A well-known problem is posed by the combined sewer system, discharging rainwater along with waste water in a single sewer system. For historical reasons it can be found
mainly in the inner city of Berlin. When heavy rainfall occurs, the combined sewer system is overloaded and dis-


charges rainwater together with untreated sewage flows
directly into the surface waters. The Senate and the Berlin
water works (Berliner Wasserbetriebe, BWB) have been investing heavily in measures to increase the underground
storage volume. But as climate change might lead to an increase in heavy rain events, it will pose a clear
risk of counteracting or even eliminating the improvements reached by the investment of the
recent years.
In the future, hotter summers may be associated with longer dry periods. This reduces the water flow through the sewage system, causing
unpleasant odors. In addition, the water levels
and the flow rate of river Spree can be reduced.
Simultaneously, these weather conditions will
lead to an increased water demand in the city.
Right in this field of action, a significant need for
adaptation is given, if damages are to be avoided and cost burdens should be reduced. Through
a combination of different measures Berlin’s
water supply and distribution can be made climate-proof. In this context it is very helpful that
in recent years the BWB have been initiating a
number of research and development projects,
addressing exactly these future challenges.
The measures are intended to increase the decentralized
rainwater infiltration, to prepare the surface of the city for
temporary flooding and controlled drainage and to treat
only the inevitable remaining amount of water in the classical sewage system. The free supply of drinking water in the
public space has to be expanded rapidly. Water in the city
needs to become more accessible and should also be designed in aesthetic attractive ways.
Fig. 15: Combined sewers. Fig. 16: In order to combat the fish die-offs the aeration
vessel is supplying surface water with oxygen.

Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin | Vulnerabilities and Measures

Fig. 17: Rendering Flussbad Berlin/Friedrichsgracht with plant/gravel filter.

‘Sponge city’ Berlin
The measures in the areas of urban development and
water must complement each other and achieve a synergistic effect, which is referred to here as ‘sponge city’
principle. Berlin needs to become a sponge city, so that
it can deal with the risks of climate change well. What
does that mean more concretely?
„„The permeability of the city surface for rain water
must be increased to reduce the runoff and to relieve the sewer. De-sealing and trough-trench systems are important here.
„„Defined road sections, park areas or city courts
need to buffer the expected precipitation peaks in
a decentralised manner in order to protect sensitive buildings and infrastructure against urban
flooding and relieve the sewers.
„„At the same time the evaporation rate must be increased significantly. The evaporation process consumes energy, thereby contributing to the cooling of
the urban climate especially in the warmer months.

„„More small oases and wellness places in the Berlin
districts are needed. In addition to their climatic
and hydrologic functions, they also enhance the
amenity of public spaces.
„„A redesign of responsibilities and cost absorption
is necessary and calls for improved coordination
and communication with the urban society.
If Berlin is transformed according to these sponge city
principles, it could increase its resilience; namely with
regard to the two major effects of climate change more heat and more heavy rainfall events. They could
be significantly improved. The increase of costs for
public infrastructure could be dampened, maybe even
reduced, and the quality of lives and sojourning in the
city can be enhanced.


Action Area Environment and Nature
Berlin is a green city. Almost 44 percent of the city is covered by forest, water, parks or sports grounds, allotments
or agriculture - in Paris there are only 23 percent, in New
York 27 percent. This ‘green’ Berlin has positive effects on
the urban climate and is home to many animal and plant
species. In addition, it offers various leisure and recreational opportunities.
Climate change will burden the soils. Dry periods will lead to
hardening and compaction; heavy rains can promote soil
erosion. Berlin’s 76 peatlands occupy only 0.8 percent of the
city area, but they do have important ecological functions
with respect to water storage and the generation of cool air.
Longer dry periods imperil their functions. Berlin’s diverse
water landscape is popular with nature lovers, bathers, anglers and boat athletes alike. Rising temperatures and the


conditional sewage overflows due to heavy rains will negatively affect the water quality. Berlin forests are not only
recreational areas. They also sequester CO2, store (drinking) water, filter pollutants and cool the city. Hotter and
partly drier summers put the trees under drought stress.
Expected milder winters will increase the risk of pest infestation. The urban greenery, such as parks, gardens, street
trees etc. does also cool the city and ensures lower surface
runoff. But also the urban greenery can be put under stress
in hot and dry summers and will require more care. Already
today, attentive nature enthusiasts can observe how the
growing periods of many trees, shrubs and crops have
changed. Also fish, amphibians or birds show altered patterns of behaviour.

Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin | Vulnerabilities and Measures

The impacts of climate change on biodiversity are difficult
to assess. Worldwide and in Germany deforestation and agriculture are still the most important drivers of biodiversity
loss. Future climate change will lead to a shift of habitats,
thus setting individual species under pressure. The corresponding trends must be strictly observed and explored further. More than 100 areas of nature and landscape protection must be monitored in their spatial context and need to
be connected so that endangered species can migrate better.
Only about 2 percent of the Berlin land area (1,985 ha) is
dedicated to agriculture - mostly for grain cultivation, permanent pasture or for growing fruit. The farms should be
protected against damage caused by extreme events. Agricultural lands should be preserved, not least for their service to provide fresh and cold air.

The proposed measures are intended to better protect the
sensitive parts of the green infrastructure of Berlin (for example, by securing and increasing the forest conversion
programme). Berlin’s nature has to become more resilient
to climate change (for example by planting more (native)
species resistant to stress). The urban biodiversity of Berlin
can be better protected by linking-up of nature protection
areas and by an intensified use of the existing instrument of

Fig. 18: The Berlin Tiergarten - resort, ‘green lung’ and cooling
factor in the inner city.


Precautionary soil protection
	Upgrading of the existing soil monitoring
	Protection and restoration of the Berlin peatlands
	Expansion of the Berlin peatland monitoring
	Backup, maintenance and development of the Berlin Forests
Environmental monitoring of forests
Climate resilient and locally adapted plantations
Establishment of area pools / eco-accounts
Review of existing protected areas
Security and maintenance of Berlin‘s cultural landscape
Increase of the urban green volume
Campaign on climate adaptation in allotments


Action Area Energy Supply and Solid Waste Management

Fig. 19: Power Station Klingenberg in Berlin-Rummelsburg.

Fig. 20: Adaptation measures for employees working mainly outside reduce
their vulnerability.

Climate change will in the longer term reduce the heating
by climate change. Firstly, rising summer temperatures can
demand due to milder winters, while hotter summers on the
affect the entire waste cycle. Odors will aggravate, and
other hand will lead to an increased demand for cooling of
compost bins offer improved growth conditions for bacteria
buildings. In the interests of Berlin’s climate neutrality tarand other micro-organisms. Secondly, more heat events
get, the additional cooling of buildings should be realized
will impede on productivity and health of employees, espeprimarily through passive measures (for example, by shadcially outdoors (waste collection, street cleaning, recycling
ing, ventilation, use of evaporative cooling), and by using
centers, composting plants).
renewable energy. Trigeneration (combined cooling, heat
The adaptation strategy in the waste sector has to identify
and power, CCHP) with an increasing share of renewable
and improve sensitive process steps. For example, while abfuels is an option that fits well to Berlin’s current energy structure.
Throughout Germany the aboveground powMeasures
er grid is considered vulnerable to extreme
weather events – there is a small but
„„Promoting energy-efficient cooling systems
non-negligible risk of blackouts. In Berlin,
„„Take precautions for power supply disturbances
most of the electricity network is under„„Planning of energy systems under changed
ground. But even here the climate change
environmental conditions
can be dangerous – for example by so-called
„„Optimization of energy infrastructure, focus: networks
‘summer frost’, that is line interruptions by
„„Optimization of energy infrastructure, focus: storage
subsidence of the soil due to prolonged dry
„„	Assurance of waste collection during heat events and
periods. Transformer stations can fail at
improved health protection for staff members
temperatures above 35 °C. Due to technical
„„Boost efforts to avoid waste
improvements in the cooling of conventional
power plants the thermal load on river Spree
have been reduced in recent years. Increasing water temperatures due to climate change do thus not
breviated collection cycles for the compost bin are no issue
pose a significant risk in Berlin, other than in most other
today, this needs to be reconsidered in the future. Already
water cooled power plants in Germany. Grid upgrading, the
today the occupational safety and health of outdoor emroll-out of power storage, emergency planning and the imployees needs more attention, e.g. via lighter workwear or
proved coordination of task forces will make Berlin’s power
more cooling boxes for waste truck teams. In the medium
grid less prone to climate change damages.
term, the shifting of working hours to cooler times of the
The city’s waste management will be affected in two ways
day needs to be considered.


Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin | Vulnerabilities and Measures

Action Area Industry, Services and Financial Sector
Berlin‘s economy includes more than 170,000 firms, mostly
small and medium enterprises, and has about 1.3 million employees. The focus of value creation lies with the service and
trade sectors and likewise important are the construction
and manufacturing industries. Climate change affects the
economy in three ways. Firstly, extreme events can damage
buildings and facilities. Secondly, there are adverse effects on

losses due to heat waves range from 0.03 to 2.8 percent of
the current gross national product - depending upon the intensity and duration of the event. Looking at the Berlin gross
domestic product of 2015, this would mean losses in the
range of 37 million € to 3.5 billion € per year.
First of all, the economy has to recognize these dangers and
provide enterprise-specific risk assessments. In particular,
small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need
support for this step. Moderated round
tables to exchange experiences are thereMeasures
fore a first step for them. Certain industries
„„Provision of reliable weather forecasts
(e.g. the construction industry) need relia„„Training for damage prevention due to weather extremes
ble and user-friendly weather forecasts.
„„Round tables for exchange of experience
Via the chambers, associations and the in„„Adaptation of government aid for construction and of imsurance industry, the creation of operaplementation deadlines
tional adaptation strategies should be en„„Design of corporation-specific climate adaptation concepts
couraged and supported financially for
„„Design of sector-specific climate adaptation concepts
„„Transition to flexible working and office hours
Summer heat protection in commercial
„„Improved heat protection during summer
buildings should be expanded in order to
„„Improved risk prevention for outdoor construction works
protect the employees. Climate-friendly
cooling options should be preferred. In the
long run, we have to rethink working and
opening hours, which requires the cooperathe economic processes (from logistics to the water and ention of management and trade unions. Last but not least,
ergy supply to disposal). Thirdly, climate change can also imthe development of adaptation solutions is also an opporpair the productivity of the work force. Estimates of the value
tunity for the Berlin economy.

Fig. 21: Employees working outside (e.g. construction workers) are
particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.


Action Area Traffic
The expected changes in climate will affect both the traffic
and the transport infrastructure.
AFOK research shows that the number of road accidents increase with temperature. The main reason for this effect is
that warmer weather leads to higher use of bicycles in the
urban traffic. As a consequence, under climate change conditions we will have to improve the traffic safety especially
of bicycles. Cars are less sensitive to heat stress, but more
to moisture on the streets.
Pedestrians are sensitive to heat and moisture alike. As
both heat and heavy rainfall events will increase in the future, the security and comfort of pedestrian traffic in Berlin
has to be improved i.e. by building crossovers and putting in
place shady design in public traffic space, drinking fountains or arcaded sidewalks. These will also promote public

Fig. 22: Heavy rainfall is flooding streets impeding traffic.

transport, as every travel with busses and trains starts and
ends with a walk. Particularly exposed stations and waiting
areas need climatic optimization, for example
by roofing or shading.
Already today, Berlin road surfaces suffer from
heat stress. On motorways, dangerous faults
are forming on very hot days (so-called ‘blow„„Application of adapted road covers
ups’), the dark tar covers of city streets soften
„„Adaptation of the road drainage to more heavy rains
up. New road constructions and road repairs
„„Reduction of traffic-related NOx emissions
need a shift towards heat resistant surface
„„Ensuring an environmentally friendly composition of
materials. They should simultaneously cushthe mode of transport
ion the effect of rain and reflect the solar radi„„Improve the safety of cyclists
ation better. As part of the ‘sponge city’ strat„„Improve cooling in public transport
egy the Berlin road space must be also
„„Maintain safety for pedestrians
redesigned so that it can discharge rainwater
„„Introduce Task Force transport infrastructure check
peaks. For monitoring a special task force
‘transport infrastructure check’ is needed.

Climate change as ‘Smog-Amplifier’
Climate change is associated with increased solar radiation. This leads to an augmented production of
ground level ozone from the originating substances
NO2, CO and volatile organic compounds (VOC). More
than 80 percent of these substances are a by-product
of internal combustion engines. Especially susceptible
to elevated ozone levels are high-risk groups such as
young children or people with chronic respiratory diseases. Even without the additional production of


chemical precursors climate change in Berlin will lead
to increased ozone pollution. If we do want to keep the
ozone concentration at the current level, the motorized individual traffic must be reduced. This is not only
a climate protection requirement, but also needed for
an improved climate change adaptation – a clear example of synergies between both pillars of climate

Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin | Vulnerabilities and Measures

Action Area Tourism, Culture, Sports
With almost 12 million arrivals and 28.7 million overnight
stays Berlin is the top tourism destination in Germany. Accordingly, the tourism industry is an important economic
sector. Berlin has Germany‘s largest and most versatile cultural programme, and many people from all over the world
visit the city for exactly that reason. Sport offers in Berlin
are equally overwhelming. About 600,000 people belong to
one of more than 2,300 sports clubs.
Many activities in tourism, culture and sports are held outdoors. They are therefore sensitive to changes in climatic
conditions. On the other hand, climate change also offers
clear opportunities for Berlin. The tourist season is likely to
expand, and the hotel and restaurant industry could benefit, for example by offering attractive outdoor deals, especially if care is taken for shading. Many outdoor areas can
be longer used for sporting activities.
But there are also discernible risks. Tourists are
increasingly exposed to sun and heat. They need
easy-to-understand information and warning systems for prevention. In order to assess and manage the risks and opportunities of climate change
for the Berlin tourism industry a coordinated
strategy is needed along with a modified marketing concept. At cultural and sports events a free
supply of drinking water must be ensured. Here
we also need to think about the relocation of
opening and event times. Finally, the outdoor facilities will be exposed to more drought and heavy
rainfall events. Improved maintenance concepts
and the drainage must be adjusted to the new
conditions, too.

Fig. 24: Basketball court in Schöneberg

Fig.: 23: People looking to relax on the banks of the Spree.

„„Adaptation of offers in the cultural and sports area
„„Free supply of drinking water
„„Refreshment facilities at events
„„Marketing concept: climate adjusted city tourism
„„Inclusion of tourists into civil defense and early warning
„„Improved drainage of sports fields

Fig. 25: ‘Drinkmen‘ – Mobile water supply on the Carnival of Cultures.


Action Area Education
Education is another important sector which has been assessed by AFOK – for mainly two reasons. Firstly, the educational sector is itself vulnerable to the impacts of climate
change. Secondly, the education sector plays a key role for
the future perception of and coping with climate change.

larly susceptible to heat stress. The spatial distribution of
day-care centeres and schools follows the population distribution, so that the majority of these institutions in Berlin
are located in areas with already elevated temperatures (urban heat island effect).
In order to adjust the Berlin educational sector
to climate change, first the buildings must be
improved: summer heat insulation, shading
and natural cooling areas have to be provided.
The outdoor areas of the schools must offer
„„Toughening-up of school buildings
sufficient protection too. This can easily be
„„Promotion of school gardens
combined with the establishment of learning
„„Adaptation of the (pre-) school organisation
and experience venues.
„„Schools as places of exchange of experience
The organization of the (pre-) school educa„„Integration of climate adaptation in educational
tion must be made sufficiently flexible in the
face of more heat events, e.g. with respect to
„„Climate adaptation as part of BEK networks
the time-off scheme due to excessive heat, esand continuation schemes
pecially during sports hours. We also need
„„Anchoring of climate adaptation in the curriculum
more heat adapted food and drink offers, as
„„Climate education in adult education centres
well as an adaptation of rules for ahead-of„„Promoting education campaigns with partners
schedule school finishing times. Schools can
serve as multipliers and partners for climate
adaptation measures in the neighborhood. Finally, the issues of climate change, mitigation
and adaptation should become more system­
The more than 2,100 institutions of early childhood educaati­­cally contents of the curriculum. Here, collaboration be­
tion and care are attended by almost 150,000 children.
tween AFOK and the education measures proposed by the
Berlin’s about 800 schools were attended by some 300,000
Berlin Energy and Climate Protection Programme (BEK) is
pupils during school year 2015/16. Due to their urge to
move as well as inadequate hydration children are particuFig. 26, 27: High coverage between the spatial location of schools in the city (left figure, red dots) and the
boosted thermal stress in certain parts of Berlin (see dark gray colored areas in the picture to the right).


Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change in Berlin | Making Adaptation Happen

4. Making Adaptation Happen



Taking the AFOK, the STEP Climate/
StEP Climate KONKRET, and the updated planning reference map Berlin
disposes of excellent planning and
strategy bases to transform the German capital into a climate-proof, resilient city. This transformation can be
realised and the implementation costs
are well below the damages avoided.
Climate adaptation is therefore necessary also from an economic perspective.
Berlin’s green and blue infrastructure
is a great asset for this endeavor and
its ecosystem services are very often
provided at low or no costs. This nature capital needs to be qualified and
strengthened. In part, it can serve as a
complement, if not substitute for the
city’s grey infrastructure.
The Berlin Energy Transition Act,
adopted and issued in spring 2016,
provides a sound legal basis for adaptation to climate change as well.
Now the measured proposed by AFOK
need to be discussed publicly and enacted consequently. The necessary
funds need to be provided in a timely
manner, the cooperation between
Senate und districts has to be expanded while the relevant economic stakeholders and the society have to be
won over to get involved.

Climate change will become more
noticeable in the next years. Exactly
how the climate is changing and what
climate change impacts will occur in
Berlin must be continuously observed.
AFOK proposes a monitoring system
together with sets of indicators for all
action areas. They are informed by the
widely known monitoring system of
the OECD, differentiating between
‘state’, ‘impact’ and ‘response’ indicators.
In addition to the observation of the
urban climate, monitoring is particularly needed when it comes to public
health effects, the various impacts on
ecosystems and the urban infrastructure. Climate and climate impact monitoring in Berlin can be build in many
parts upon existing or already planned
monitoring activities.
Finally, the monitoring of the actions
taken by the political and administrative system as well as by privates is
needed. It is an extra task then to also
monitor the physical effects of these
measures, requiring all types of indicators and expert evaluation on top.
Such a monitoring system is important in order to be able to make adaptation to climate change itself adaptable and enable flexible responses.

Climate change in itself is a wellknown issue, but most people still do
associate it more with climate protection (mitigation) than with adaptation.
But mitigation and adaptation belong
together - not only in Berlin. This
needs to be communicated more intensely. It is essential to inform the
urban community about upcoming
risks and to underline that action is
needed – and especially how the individual can do something.
Nationwide comparative studies show
that the perception of heat related
health risks is much lower in Berlin
than elsewhere – despite the fact that
Germany’s capital belongs to the most
vulnerable regions of the whole country.
Adaptation communication must not
only help to resolve this lacking risk
awareness. Communication is also
needed when it comes to motivate
people for improved self-protection
and more help for others.
Unusual communication formats can
be helpful here, e.g. via ‘stumbling
blocks’ on localized climate risks in
the public space, information on cool
places in the city, or on adaptation
competitions in the neighborhood.


5. Conclusion
Climate change is already a reality and will significantly
worsen in the future. Berlin, with its highly-densified areas
is particularly vulnerable to the expected increase in heat
events, more frequent heavy rain periods and periodically
occurring dry phases.
Particularly vulnerable are the elderly, infants and chronically ill people. Those working outdoors and tourists are in
this risk group, too.
Here a heat early warning system and various preventive
measures are needed. The rapid expansion of the public
drinking fountain system is necessary. Berlin‘s economy
has to take structural and organizational measures to
maintain labour productivity at its current levels.

Protecting critical infrastructure
The urban infrastructure is endangered and must be protected. For several years now, the Berlin combined sewer
system is upgraded through technical measures in order to
reduce the environmental impacts of recurring rain water
overflows. Climate change has the potential to undermine
these investments by more heavy rain events. More surface
storage capacities have to be created, complementing the
subterranean storage facilities. Berlin’s city surface has to
become more permeable via de-sealing and greening. This
will also increase the surface water storage capacity, helping to cool the city during summer heat periods (‘sponge
city’ principle).


The largely subterranean power grids of Berlin need a continuous climate check, as well as the traffic infrastructure.
We need to adapt the traffic routing in such a way that the
environmental alliance (pedestrians, bicycles, public transport) can continue to function well.
After all the urban nature – forests, parks, public green areas, allotments – need to be better protected against heat,
drought and pest infestation.

Participation of all groups
of the society is required!
Under the AFOK, more than 80 measures for all nine sectors
under consideration were developed. If implemented, our
city is well prepared for climate change. Many of them also
have synergies with the Berlin Energy and Climate Programme (BEK), aiming at climate-neutral by 2050.
The Berlin Senate has to play a key role here along with the
districts, since it has to decide and implement many of
these measures. The Senate can assist in implementation,
whereas the districts of Berlin should become role models
for climate adaption. Adaptation should also become more
anchored in the education system.
As with climate protection, the implementation of adaptation can only succeed if the business sector and the urban
society are actively involved. After all it‘s also about their
own well-being.

to the Impacts
an dieof
in Berlinin| Berlin
| Titeland

Adaptability: ability of a system or actor to react to changing climatic and environmental conditions by system or
changes in behaviour and thereby reduce the vulnerability.
Adaptation to climate change can be done consciously/intentionally or unconsciously/spontaneous.
Biodiversity: Refers to the variety of life on three different
levels: (1) within species (genetic diversity), (2) between
species (species diversity) and (3) between the habitats of
species (ecosystems diversity).
Dehydration: In Human medicine, dehydration refers to a
lack of fluid in the human body. The sensation of thirst is
already to interpret as a physical signal of a negative water
Unsealing of areas: reversal of the sealied area, i.e. the airand water-tight cover of the natural soil by man-made
Exposition: The exposition of a system (i.e. sector) in relation
to climate change or a particular climate signal describes
how strongly the sectors are subject to climate change.
Extinction: biological term for the dying out of a species.
Green (also: blue-green) Infrastructure: Strongly promoted
by the European Union the concept of ‘green infrastructure’
aims at the strengthening and regenerating of existing natural capital. The nature-based ecosystem services – such as
water retention, cooling, improve air quality, etc. – are in
many cases able to complement or even to replace the performance of the conventional ‘gray-brown infrastructure’
(that is the built infrastructure). This is due to the fact, that
the green infrastructure is often more durable, more cost
effective and multifunctional.

Heat stress: Strain caused by the heat on a human, animal
or plant organism with a negative impact on the metabolism, especially on the water balance (risk of dehydration).
Morbidity (also: disease recurrence): An epidemiological
term for the disease rate related to a specific population.
Mortality (also: mortality rate): Demographic term for the
number of deaths in a given period based on 1,000 individuals in a population.
Ecosystem Services: Direct and indirect benefits, that individuals or societies obtain from functioning ecosystems.
Resilience: The ability of a social or ecological system to
withstand external disturbances or shocks and to resume
function after longer or shorter periods of time and maintaining its structure.
Summer Smog: Summer smog (also smog, ozone smog or
L.A. smog) refers to the load on the ground-level air by a
high concentration of ozone and photochemical oxidants.
Urban heat island effect: Refers to the higher average temperature in a city compared to surrounding areas, caused
mainly by the higher heating of the building and the lower
air circulation in the city. It is influenced by the choice of a
built-up surface, the evaporation and the air exchange.
Vulnerability: The lost susceptibility of a system and its exposure and sensitivity to climate change (which determines
its potential damage) on one side, and the adaptability on
the other side.


Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment
Am Köllnischen Park 3
10179 Berlin
Expert Department
Special Unit for Climate Protection and Energy (SR KE)
The concept for adaptation to the impacts of climate change in Berlin (AFOK) was
produced by the following institutions and agencies:
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) (Project Management)
bgmr. Landscape Architects GmbH (Repesentative Project Management)
Luftbild Umwelt Planung GmbH (LUP)
Institute for Ecological Economy Research gGmbH (IÖW)
L.I.S.T. Urban Development Corporation mbH
Recommendation for citation
Reusswig, F.; Becker, C.; Lass, W.; Haag, L.; Hirschfeld, J.; Knorr, A.; Lüdeke, M.K.B.;
Neuhaus, A.; Pankoke, C.; Rupp, J., Walther, C.; Walz, S.; Weyer, G.; Wiesemann, E.
(2016): Anpassung an die Folgen des Klimawandels in Berlin (AFOK). Klimaschutz
Teilkonzept Zusammenfassung. Potsdam, Berlin.
Photo credits
Cover: Pixabay, pp. 6/7: L.I.S.T. Stadtentwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, p. 11: iStock, Fotolia, T. Dümmel/A. Schubert 2015 (
downloads/Adlershof-Ambrosia-Doku.pdf), Wikipedia, Fotolia, p. 13: Fotolia, p. 14:
bgmr/SenStadtUm StEP Klima KONKRET, p. 15 Fotolia, p. 16: BWB – Joachim Donath,
p. 17: realities:united (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0), pp. 18/19: Patrick Voigt, p. 20: (CC BY-SA 3.0), Berliner Stadtreinigungsbetriebe, p. 21: Shutterstock, p. 22:
Fotolia, p. 23: Pixabay (above), C. Pankoke (LUP-Potsdam) (below), pp. 25, 26, 27:
Design, Marcus Lepie
Christiane Latzel, M.A. ESD (
July 2016
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