Air pollution is a special concern and has become a silent epidemic in many urban centres and is linked to 7 million premature deaths. Outdoor air pollution, which causes 3.7 million deaths a year, is interlinked with weather.
Heat can exacerbate health problems linked to air quality (from both pollution and pollen). Wind can bring in pollution from remote sources or blow away local air pollutants. The pollution from megacities can be transported thousands of kilometres and contributes to overall hemispheric background pollution and contribute to the climate change.
The WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) established the Urban Research Meteorology and Environment (GURME) project in order to further study the relationship between air quality and weather and other environmental factors. Its international network, together with the GAW Application Science Advisory Group, is ideally placed to provide scientific data on atmospheric composition from the global to urban scales to inform sound decision-making.
The EU Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) is an important contributor to GAW by providing near-real-time data analyses and forecasts on multiple atmospheric chemical constituents of relevance to air quality and other environmental issues at a global and regional scale. Details of CAMS available here
GURME facilitates many urban air quality pilot projects such as System of Air quality and weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), which was setup for the 2010 India Commonwealth Games to deliver location-specific air pollution forecast. SAFAR now provides air quality information for up to 3 days ahead for Pune, Delhi and Mumbai.
WMO participates in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and works closely with partners such as the UN Environment Programme and the World Health Organization to improve air quality, protect public health and cut emissions of pollutants which contribute to global warming.
WMO brochure on sustainable cities available here