Executive Summary

Meeting Summary and Recommendations

The WMO GAW Urban Research Meteorology and Environment (GURME) project was developed in response to the recognition that NMHSs have a critical role to play in the study and management of urban environments, in part because the NMHSs are in possession of information and capabilities that are essential to the forecasting of urban air pollution and the evaluation of the effects of different emission control strategies, and that for many this role will be expanded in the future. While the expanded roles of the NMHSs will follow different paths, they will be centered on the traditional activities related to meteorological monitoring, forecasting, and modelling (both meteorological and chemical) and their application to air quality problems. WMO established GURME as a means to help enhance the capabilities of NMHSs to handle the meteorological and related aspects of urban pollution, and is designed to do this through co-ordination and focus of present activities, and selected new endeavors.  
The first workshop of GURME was held 1-4 November 1999 in Beijing, China. The objectives of the workshop were to identify relevant activities for the implementation of GURME aimed at improving the NMHSs capabilities to manage urban meteorology and air quality. Specific objectives of the workshop included:

  • Review urban-related activities underway and/or planned in Regions II and V.
  • Identify what meteorological and air quality measurements are needed to support such activities.
  • Discuss urban-related modelling activities and needs.
  • Identify potential avenues for co-operation and partnerships to help facilitate GURME initiatives.

Participants from the regions and invited experts presented on-going and planned measurement and modelling activities related to urban-environments. Working groups were then formed to discuss specific questions:

  • In what ways can GURME assist National efforts to address urban environmental issues, especially those related to forecasting (including those in support of early warning of pollution events, etc.) on shorter and longer time-scales, and research/assessment of urban environmental quality (e.g., air quality, heat/cold waves, etc.)?
  • What (special/additional) meteorological and air quality measurements are needed to support National efforts related to the above? In what ways (if any) does the design of measurements to support these efforts differ from that for environmental protection monitoring? What guidance should GURME provide in regards to such measurements?
  • What are the National modelling needs in regards to early warning and forecasting of urban environmental quality? What are the ways in which GURME can assist these efforts?
  • What National/Regional/International programmes are relevant to GURME? And what types of GURME linkages should be considered/pursued?

Through presentations and working group deliberations, the following conclusions were reached: 
(a) Many NMHSs have a breadth of activities related to urban environments, and these activities include a variety of meteorological and air quality measurements, and modelling and forecasting activities ranging from meteorological to chemical, and statistical to dynamic; while others are at a very early stage in developing these activities. Results from the GURME survey of NMHSs presented at the meeting indicated 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 the responsibility for urban environments often falls within several agencies. Thus there is a need to find ways to effectively co-ordinate activities with other agencies. In addition NMHS?s urban activities need to be conducted in the context of National social/economic priorities. There is a clear need for capacity building in the areas of problem definition, optimising monitoring programs based on a balance of measurements and modelling, and quantifying 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 include such issues as water resources (through deposition). In addition, regional influences can profoundly influence urban environments (e.g., smoke in SE Asia and dust in East Asia).  
(d) There is a need to assist NMHSs in providing air quality services of high quality. One aspect involves enhancing capabilities to provide meteorological and air quality forecasts of urban environments. Forecasting is an important focus since it builds upon traditional strengths of the NMHSs in terms of meteorological forecasting, and helps to define GURME programme boundaries and to concentrate efforts. This need also entails measurement efforts that support operational and verification aspects of forecasting, and performed in co-operation with appropriate agencies.  
(e) Passive samplers offer a variety of valuable applications in urban environments. These include enhancing a suite of species measured, enhancing/providing spatial resolution of the measurements, and in selecting/evaluating appropriate locations for monitoring sites.  
(f) GURME offers an excellent opportunity to strengthen co-operation with important WHO activities, such as the Air Management Information System (AMIS).

The following recommendations were forwarded: 
1) GURME should assist NMHSs in providing air quality services of high quality. A spectrum of activities should be pursued. These should include activities such as: illustrating and promoting the linkages between meteorology and air quality; building awareness with end-users (customers) through applications related to compliance, trend analysis, and industrial/city planning; and providing opportunities for twinning and facilitating expert assistance. 
2) GURME should assist NMHSs in developing urban-environmental forecasting capabilities by providing guidelines on available models, conducting inter-comparisons, and facilitating training activities. GURME should organize a workshop focused specifically on forecasting, with emphasis on presenting the spectrum of forecasting tools, ranging from meteorological to chemical, and statistical to dynamic, and an appropriate uses (including examples of model uses and limitations).  
3) In the area of urban measurements GURME should focus specifically on those that support urban forecasting. This focus may require different measurements than those at present. GURME should formulate guidelines to: better define meteorological and air quality measurements (including contemporary techniques to obtain vertical structure; i.e., wind profilers, and satellite products); to help optimize the number of and placement of monitoring sites, and which measurements are needed at each site. Activities should include making available guidelines, assisting in QA/QC analysis, inter-calibrations, and extending these efforts to include key meteorological parameters. 
4) GURME should promote the use of passive samplers to augment chemical measurements in urban-environments, to aid in site selection, and provide added spatial resolution in support of model evaluation.  
5) GURME should fully utilise the Internet, and do so though the development of GURME Website designed to assist in its activities. These activities could include a catalogue of appropriate measurement and modelling techniques, with examples of successes, failures, and various degrees of applications for new measurement techniques and models, and as a forum to exchange information on a variety of issues is encouraged. Furthermore GURME should consider utilizing the Internet to create or link to common data bases, and data archive for those parameters of interest to GAW and WMO, and that includes both meteorological data and chemical data. Such an activity should be done carefully to avoid unnecessary duplication and should include links to other existing data bases. The GURME web site should also house archives and updated information on models, including examples of use and limitations, and contact person information for each model, where the contact person would provide feedback to users and potential users for specific models. 
6) GURME should promote a series of pilot projects to demonstrate how NMHSs can successfully undertake/expand urban environment issues. The Chinese CMA ?Beijing project? presented at the workshop represents an excellent example. GURME also needs to consider other ways to promote its activities. These could include highly visible studies such as an up-date to the UNEP/WHO Air Pollution in the MegaCities of the World, showcasing new technologies at appropriate conferences, and developing illustrative examples. 
7) GURME should pursue linkages with National/Regional/International programmes (e.g., Environmental Agencies, Municipalities, International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) programme, etc.), in addition to other WMO programmes. The success of GURME activities will rest heavily on these linkages.  
8) GURME should pursue efforts to enhance the already strong links between WMO and WHO. A strong co-operation will help to convey that meteorological, health and environmental agencies can and must work together in the successful management of urban environments.  
9) WMO needs to identify ways to facilitate NMHSs initiatives related to urban environments. These will include twinning relationships, facilitating the use of experts, as well as pursuing additional funding channels (e.g., such as The Asian Development Bank and The World Bank, through such programmes as their Clean Air Initiative).