Strategic Plan


GURME is held as an example within the GAW programs for providing the means to a service and the services themselves through its partners and projects. GURME has been successful in bringing the concepts of real-time prediction to the international community and build a capacity in different part of the world that is adapted to their means. The level of complexity varies from forecasting the transport of CO as an indicator for other pollutants to full-scale 3D in-line chemical/transport models integrated within advanced dissemination systems. In doing so, GURME has encouraged where feasible research projects to further advance the field, such as the data assimilation project with CMA building on China’s rapidly advancing satellite capacity.

In the next strategic plan for WMO, GURME is called upon to be a major player in the development of urban services. To rise to the challenge, GURME will need to refocus its activities. Building on its strengths in predictions, forecasting and assimilation, GURME is well placed to coordinate reviews in the current state of science in urban-scale forecasting and associated monitoring and establish activities where gaps exist. Given the integrative nature of modelling, the on-going scientific trend towards seamless predictions and the evolution of technology, GURME also has an opportunity to leverage and actively engage other WMO advisory and working groups within WWRP, GAW and the rest of its organisation, to address this complex and multidisciplinary challenge.

Vision & main thrusts

GURME is evolving to be a major coordinator and facilitator of integrated forecasting projects for the urban environment, building on its experience and strengths in air quality and health. It will center its activities on those research questions/issues that transcend disciplines and require leveraging a broader community to develop improved forecasting concepts and tools to resolve complex urban environments at increasing scales; through this process, it expects to support the implementation of derived services.

While megacities will continue to receive particular attention, GURME pledges to orient its research to cover the full array of urban environments that are key to the broader scientific question of urban-scale modelling.

Recognizing that the dynamic, physical and chemical processes governing the urban environment are highly interconnected, GURME will contribute actively to numerical modelling and data assimilation efforts focuses on integrated/coupled models and the seamless representation of processes, harnessing research that occurs outside the conventional forecasting time-scale.

GURME will continue to nurture its engagement with the health community as the main partner in assessing the needs, evaluating the benefits and communicating resulting services to society within these urban environments.

Finally GURME will seek to build capacity through its research projects, identifying those environments that constitute gaps in the overall directions of the GURME program.

Research enabling services

GURME activities result largely in the establishment of air quality numerical prediction systems which serve as the basis for health-related prediction services. There are both growing needs and growing potential to cover other environmental conditions (such as heat stress, pollen conditions, disease potential indices at some latitudes). In the urban environment where complexities grow rapidly with the size of the city, there is a strong potential through prediction capacity to contribute to the management of emergency situations (caused for example by smoke plumes from forest, industrial or accidental fires).

Numerical systems are also becoming the tools of choice to integrate data from multiple and diverse sources and produce consistent and continuous (in all three dimensions) information in real-time on the state of the atmosphere or more broadly the biosphere. It opens many new approaches for research and applications from exposure research to smart monitoring systems to real-time pollution or health management.

GURME’s research will be targeted at paving the way for existing services to improve in coverage and accuracy and for new ones to emerge where demand is expressed or societal gains foreseen; linkages will be established and consolidated with partners within WMO and elsewhere to deliver the predictive capacity and build the derived suite of services.

1- Application areas

It is foreseen that GURME activities will deliver capacity in the following areas of applications:

- forecasting of atmospheric composition for health services;
- forecasting of related atmospheric conditions for health services, in particular in the urban environment;
- real-time integrated monitoring of atmospheric composition (analyses).

In doing so, GURME will contribute to the understanding and capacity to represent the physical characteristics of the lowest layers of the atmosphere. These advancements will be contributed to WWRP working groups through collaborations. The three application areas align well with the two of the areas of applications defined for GAW observations, namely:

- Forecasting Atmospheric Composition (F) – Covers applications from global to regional scales (with horizontal resolutions similar to global NWP (~ 10 km and coarser) with stringent timeliness requirements (NRT) to support operations such as sand and dust storm and chemical weather forecasts.
- Providing Atmospheric Composition information to support services in urban and populated areas (U) - Covers applications that target limited areas (with horizontal resolution of a few km or smaller and stringent timeliness requirements to support services related to weather/climate/pollution, such as air quality forecasting.
Note: The GURME SAG has been tasked to review all related entries to the later (U) area. GURME will benefit from access and advancements in the GAW network in the two areas highlighted above. It will also play an instrumental role in collaborating with the observation leads to further the concepts of real-time analyses and derived products.

2- Products/services

While addressing the research barriers to advance the predictive capacity at increasing resolutions, and in the urban context in particular, GURME will endeavour to encourage in its projects the development and testing of derived services. The products themselves would take the form of forecasts, alerts and warnings and/or real-time/NRT maps or databases.

Embedding such products in dissemination systems in a form that is well suited for large or targeted audiences is key; the linkages benefit from being created early on as the predictive capacity emerges. For GURME this means forging stronger collaboration with CBS within WMO and facilitating the inclusion of individuals with responsibilities similar to CBS in the home institutions piloting the projects.

Modelling research in support of the above

Numerical models are the basis of GURME’s strategy. It is therefore critical for GURME to foster the research initiatives and collaborations that advance its goals. In the context of the urban environment, this means, amongst other, facilitating the convergence of interests in improving the modelling of the planetary boundary layer and themicro and local scale meteorology community, fostering the emerging joint research in micro-physics and radiation, supporting the cross-discipline initiatives to represent surface characteristics, and continuing to contribute to the development of coupled meteorology/chemistry modelling systems and understanding the role and importance of interactions at different temporal and spatial scales.

GURME will seek the appropriate expertise and engagement with the WWRP working group as well as the broader community internationally. As capacity grows, GURME will consider exploring opportunities for model intercomparisons under pilot and demonstration projects and/or under WGNE.


1- Major new initiatives

a. Development of joint initiative(s) with Joint Mesoscale/Nowcasting WWRP working group to advance urban scale modelling for weather and environmental prediction

i. Assessment of observation needs to advance urban research and predictions, including:

1. State of knowledge and lessons learned from the last 20 years of research with a comprehensive look across meteorology and air quality

2. What is missing to develop and evaluate prediction systems for the urban environment and deriving a set of recommendations

b. Establishing a community of practice that builds on existing efforts in weather/air quality/climate targeting the urban environment

i. Facilitate the sharing of urban scale geophysical information

c. Foster a urban scale integrated pilot (Tokyo 2020?) with WWRP to advance integrated

high-resolution modelling in urban environment.

2- Overarching/cross cutting strategies

a.Participation in integrated modelling initiatives and intercomparisons (CCMM symposium, WGNE aerosol project, IWAQFR)

b. Establish/consolidate dialogue with health community with engagement of appropriate GAW SAGs and TF.

3- Enabling elements

a. Data management

i. Infrastructure for data management will need to be organized for to facilitate the projects significantly.

b. Central facilities

In the context of linking/exchanging databases, for major projects, or for training, GURME may want to consider whether there should be some central functions distributed across a number of centres where it facilitate efficiency.

c. Outreach/communication /reports

A list of results and needs reports will be generated at a later date. Publication needs are not expected to start before 2016.

d. GURME trust fund

i. The trust fund was created but has not been active. How is it feasible to change


Transitioning from previous activities/tasks

GURME has been very successful in its pilot projects. A number of them (list to come) are still on-going while requests for GURME endorsement have been received for additional ones.

A mechanism needs to be put in place to transition and align towards the objectives highlighted above. This will necessitate:

- Review of existing projects and timeline
- Assessment of scientific opportunity within project for GURME’s objectives
- Mentoring/support towards renewed objectives where applicable.

For new projects, a definition phase will be added to seek a convergence of interest between GURME’s objective s and the local needs.