Natural hazards and air pollution challenge megacities

Natural hazards and air pollution challenge megacities

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Published

12 November 2012

Weather, climate and environmental services for urban areas are becoming increasingly important to meet growing challenges posed by floods, cyclones and other hazards, compounded by air pollution, according to WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

“Our focus is on climate, weather forecasting and disaster risk reduction, and the air we breathe,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told a conference celebrating the 140th anniversary of the Shanghai Xujiahui Observatory, one of the world’s foremost observatories for the continuous long-term time series of climatological data.

As the population increases, the number of people living in urban areas is projected to increase from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.2 billion in 2050. The number of megacities—with more than 10 million inhabitants—is expected to rise from 23 to 37 in 2025. WMO recently launched a report highlighting the negative impact of megacities on local air quality.

Mr Jarraud said a pilot project on multi-hazard early warning system launched by WMO with the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau and demonstrated at Expo 2010 provided an excellent example of how to tackle problems facing megacities, including early detection and warning system for tropical cyclones and marine hazards; warning system for heat waves and health; forecasting of air pollution and weather, with a specific project on nowcasting.

“Projects like this can assist WMO Members to identify future directions for collaboration in urban meteorology,” Mr Jarraud said.

 

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