This presentation discusses a modern evolution in research and development from specific/separate urban climate, weather, air quality models to multi-hazard and integrated urban hydrometeorology, climate and environment systems and services. It also provides an overview of joint results from the following large international teams: WMO GURME, IUS, and EU FP FUMAPEX, MEGAPOLI, EuMetChem, MACC and MarcoPolo projects.
Over many decades, developments of urban weather, air quality, hydrology and climate prediction models were progressing separately with very little close collaboration between the research communities. Over the last decade a number of international studies have explored these issues in a complex manner. In particular, relevant experience from the European projects FUMAPEX, MEGAPOLI, MarcoPolo will be demonstrated. MEGAPOLI studies aimed to assess the impacts of megacities and large air-pollution hotspots on local, regional and global air quality; to quantify feedback mechanisms linking megacity air quality, local and regional climates, and global climate change; and to develop improved tools for predicting air pollution levels in megacities (Baklanov et al., 2010). FUMAPEX developed for the first time an integrated system encompassing emissions, urban meteorology and population exposure for urban air pollution episode forecasting, for assessment of urban air quality and health effects, and for emergency preparedness issues in urban areas (UAQIFS: Urban Air Quality Forecasting and Information System; Baklanov, 2006; Baklanov et al., 2002, 2007).
While important advances have been made, new interdisciplinary research studies are needed to increase our understanding of the interactions between emissions, air quality, and regional and global climates. Studies need to address both basic and applied research and bridge the spatial and temporal scales connecting local emissions, air quality and weather with climate and global atmospheric chemistry. WMO has established the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Urban Research Meteorology and Environment (GURME) project which provides an important research contribution to the integrated urban services.
It is also important to remember that most (about 90%) of the disasters affecting urban areas are of a hydro-meteorological nature and these have increased due to climate change (Habitat-III, 2016). Cities are also responsible not only for air pollution emissions, but also for generating up to 70% of the Greenhouse Gas emissions that drive large scale climate change. Thus, there is a strong feedback between contributions of cities to environmental health, climate change and the impacts of climate change on cities and consequently, these phases of the problem should not be considered separately. Further, a single extreme event can lead to a cascading effect that generates new hazards and to a broad breakdown of a city’s infrastructure. There is a critical need to consider the problem in a complex manner with interactions of climate change and disaster risk reduction for urban areas (Grimmond et al., 2014, 2015, 2020; Baklanov et al., 2016, 2018, 2020).
WMO is promoting safe, healthy and resilient cities through the development of Integrated Urban Weather, Environment and Climate Services. The aim is to build urban services that meet the special needs of cities through a combination of dense observation networks, high-resolution forecasts, multi-hazard early warning systems, disaster management plans and climate services. This approach gives cities the tools they need to reduce emissions, build thriving and resilient communities and implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Guidance on Integrated Urban Hydro-Meteorological, Climate and Environmental Services (IUS), developed by a WMO inter-programme working group and the Commission for Atmospheric Sciences and Commission for Basic Systems, documents and shares good practices that will allow countries and cities to improve the resilience of urban areas to a great variety of natural and other hazards (WMO, 2019, 2021).
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WMO, 2021: Guidance on IUS. Volume 2: Demonstration Cities. Editors Grimmond, S. and Sokhi, R., WMO-No. 1234.