Informational Guidelines

Overview of GURME

GURME was established as a means to help enhance the capabilities of NMHSs to handle meteorological and related aspects of urban pollution. GURME is built on the premise that NMHSs have an important role to play in the study and management of urban environments because they collect information and have capabilities that are essential to the forecasting of urban air pollution and the evaluation of the effects of different emission control strategies. While the NMHSs will extend their role in various directions in the future, they will remain centred on the traditional activities related to meteorological monitoring, forecasting, and modelling (both meteorological and chemical) and their respective application to air quality problems. WMO. The lead responsibility for the programme rests with the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG GURME).


The guidelines presented in this document are compiled to provide information to NMHSs to help them effectively deal with urban pollution matters in concert with other city authorities. These guidelines were developed as outputs from a series of GURME workshops. 

1.The most important initial activity of the NMHSs is to develop a clear understanding of what aspects of urban environments they wish to emphasize. Possible urban activities span a breadth of activities related to urban environments including meteorological and air quality measurements, as well as modelling and forecasting activities ranging from meteorological to chemical, and from statistical to dynamic. Results from the GURME survey ( provide useful information regarding what NMHSs are doing in this area.

2.NMHSs in their pursuit of urban initiatives face important challenges. These challenges are largely related to the fact that often several agencies share responsibility for urban environments, making it more difficult to effectively co-ordinate activities. In addition NMHSs urban activities need to be conducted in the context of national socio-economic priorities.

3.NMHSs need to consider the regional context of urban influences in their planning. For example, the impacts of urban activities are not limited to air quality but also affect water resources (through deposition). In addition, regional influences can profoundly influence urban environments (e.g., smoke in Southeast Asia and dust in East Asia). 
NMHSs should focus on providing services of high quality, e.g., by enhancing their capabilities to provide meteorological and air quality forecasts for urban environments. The latter is an important focus since it builds upon the traditional strength of the NMHSs in meteorological forecasting and helps to define GURME programme boundaries and to concentrate efforts. The motivation for air quality forecasting should be the provision of useful information for such activities as

Public warnings, control of emissions of certain industries, and restrictions on vehicular transport in adverse conditions; 
Provision of data on case studies used to assist in development and testing of alternative air pollution management strategies or for siting new power plants or industrial sites; 
Archiving of results to allow investigation of long-term problems such as risk of exposure to cancer-related pollutants such as benzene, and other issues such as acid deposition and nutrification of water bodies.

Many NMHSs are not yet in the position to determine what modelling activity is needed to support their anticipated applications.It is important to develop a better understanding of what models can be used, their limitations and possibilities. The GURME report on First WMO/GAW GURME Air Quality Forecasting Workshop Kuching, Malaysia 14-17 August 2000 ( provides important background information on forecasting and air pollution models.

5.Measurement efforts that support operational aspects and verification of forecasting, performed in co-operation with appropriate agencies, are needed. In collaboration with other WMO programmes, WHO and environmental agencies, it is required to better define meteorological and air quality measurements that specifically support urban forecasting. A clear need exists for capacity building in the areas of problem definition, optimisation of monitoring programmes to balance measurements and modelling, and quantification of the economic benefits of improved air quality for all relevant compounds.

6.The complexity of the initiative on urban environments is substantial. Many NMHSs are burdened by the need for significant training and technology transfer. The development of local expertise and facilities is essential. However, it is important to face the need for considerable local resources to succeed. The mechanisms of training are critical and include:

Access & self help by providing tools and information 
Training and information exchange through workshops 
Funding and twinning arrangements

7.Workshops are an important mechanism to build capacity and transfer information. Workshops on urban environments should have a clear regional focus, with hands-on and demonstration elements. NMHSs should actively participate in such workshops. Those interested in organizing workshops should contact the GURME SAG.

8.Pilot projects are another important mechanism to promote urban activities. GURME promotes pilot projects that demonstrate how NMHSs can successfully expand their activities into urban environment issues, showcase new technologies at appropriate conferences, and develop illustrative examples. Present pilot projects are described at

Further Information:

The GURME web site was developed to provide NMHSs with easy access to information on a variety of urban environment topics. The site is available at: