Strategic Plan

Current Status

The WMO GAW Urban Research Meteorology and Environment (GURME) project was developed in response to the requests of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs).  The lead responsibility for the programme rests with the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG GURME).  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.  Therefore, GURME will also address environmental agencies in charge of air quality measurements in urban settings.  WMO established GURME as a means to help enhance the capabilities of NMHSs to handle meteorological and related aspects of urban pollution.  GURME is designed to do this through co-ordination and focussing of present activities, as well as initiation of selected new endeavours.


While the focal point of GURME will be the NMHSs, the programme will - through the NMHSs - collaborate intensively with environmental agencies.  The initial activities of the SAG have focused on developing a clear understanding of what aspects of urban environments should be emphasised and how this programme can best support NMHSs in their related activities.  A questionnaire and a dedicated Workshop resulted in a programme framework and opportunities as follows:

(a) GURME will assist NMHSs with 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.  Some NMHSs are at a very early stage of developing these activities.  Results from the GURME survey of NMHSs indicate substantial interest in urban environmental issues within many of the Services.

(b) GURME offers significant opportunities to assist NMHSs in their pursuit of urban initiatives but also faces 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.  There is a clear need 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.

(c) GURME needs to consider the regional context of urban influences in its 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).

(d) GURME will assist NMHSs in 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.  This assistance also entails measurement efforts that support operational aspects and verification of forecasting, and should be performed in co-operation with appropriate agencies.

(e) GURME promotes the use of passive samplers.  Passive samplers have a variety of applications in urban environments.  These include enhancing the suite of species measured, providing or enhancing spatial resolution of the measurements, and in selecting and evaluating appropriate locations for monitoring sites.

(f) GURME offers an excellent opportunity to strengthen co-operation with important activities of the World Health Organization (WHO) such as the Air Management Information System (AMIS).


* To enhance the capabilities of NMHSs in providing urban-environmental forecasting and in providing air quality services of high quality, illustrating the linkages between meteorology and air quality 
* In collaboration with other WMO programmes, WHO and environmental agencies, to better define meteorological and air quality measurements focusing specifically on those that support urban forecasting. 
* To provide NMHSs with easy access to information on measurement and modelling techniques. 
* To promote a series of pilot projects to demonstrate how NMHSs can successfully expand their activities into urban environment issues, showcase new technologies at appropriate conferences, and develop illustrative examples.

Implementation Strategy

Task 1. To produce GURME Guidelines to enable NMHSs to take full advantage of GURME. 
(SAG GURME - January 2001) 
Task 2. To establish a GURME web site to be used as the main communication vehicle for GURME activities.  
(SAG GURME - July 2001) 
Task 3. To conduct regional workshops focused on ways and means of developing urban- environmental forecasting capabilities.(SAG GURME - December 2002) 
Task 4. To develop new and promote established GURME pilot projects to illustrate the spectrum of NMHSs urban-related activities and opportunities for co-operation with environmental agencies. (SAG GURME - December 2004) 
Task 5. To tie into related/complementary activities within WMO (e.g., World Climate Programme - WCP, Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation - CIMO) by collaborating on a common topic and/or by collocating  
a project.(SAG GURME - April 2002) 
Task 6. To foster and continue close co-operation with the WHO on the meteorological, measurement and health aspects of urban environments. (SAG GURME - July 2002) 
Task 7. To develop a strategy for addressing advice and guidance to NMHSs on measurements. (SAG GURME - December 2001) 
Task 8. To continue evaluation of the passive sampler method, expand in the passive sampler project the number of sites and publish the observational data. (SAG GURME - July 2001)