Partner 20 - WMO (Switzerland/ International)
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)


Expertise and experience of the organization
WMO is a specialized United Nations (UN) Organization that has the mandate for weather, climate, operational hydrology, and related geophysical sciences within the UN system. It is the UN system’s authorative voice on the state and behaviour of the atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces, and the resulting distribution of water resources. WMO plays a leading role in international efforts to monitor and protect the environment through its Programmes and is instrumental in providing advice and assessments to governments on matters related to these issues and in contributing towards ensuring the sustainable development and well-being of nations. The Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) of the Atmospheric Research and Environment Programme (AREP) department is the only global long-term atmospheric chemistry and air pollution programme. The measurement variables of GAW include greenhouse gases, stratospheric and tropospheric ozone, aerosols, UV radiation, reactive gases, and precipitation chemistry. The principal goal of GAW implementation is to contribute to efforts in reducing environmental risks to society and meeting the requirements of environmental conventions; to strengthen capabilities to predict climate, weather and air quality; and to contribute to scientific assessments in support of environmental policy; through maintaining and applying global, long-term observations of the chemical composition and selected physical characteristics of the atmosphere; emphasizing quality assurance and quality control; and through delivering integrated products and services to users. The GAW Urban Research Meteorology and Environment (GURME) was established in 1999, it is the GAW activity most closely focused on air quality. This project bridges over a wide variety of Organizations and authorities, including environmental agencies, that collaborate under the WMO GURME umbrella in order to improve their citizens’ environment. GURME addresses the end-to-end aspects of air quality that link observational issues, data assimilation techniques, numerical models, dissemination methods, and capacity building. GURME is on one hand applying the latest research and developments in modelling, forming good collaboration between research and operational communities, and on the other building capacity in developing countries, for instance through pilot projects.

Role and contribution

WMO will provide the link to megacities outside of Europe and developing countries through GURME. WMO will participate in WP 8 as a Task Leader.

Principal personnel involved
Dr. Liisa Jalkanen, Acting Chief/Environment Division/AREP leads the WMO GAW and GURME programmes. An important part of this job is to initiate, coordinate and catalyze global, regional and sub-regional cooperation and action for GAW and GURME and in response to environmental problems and emergencies. The main tasks are to support atmospheric research and to assist developing countries in implementing atmospheric chemistry activities through GAW and GURME. This includes keeping abreast of developments in, and new observational requirements for, atmospheric radiation, changes in the chemical composition, and physical characteristics of the atmosphere. GAW publishes guidelines and recommendations for instruments, observations and their dissemination. She is responsible in WMO for environmental activities in Europe, specifically she continues to co-chair, now for six years, the Task Force on Measurements and Modelling (TFMM) of the EMEP programme, under UN ECE. She is the WMO focal point for COST actions and specifically the representative in COST-726, -728 and -732. She collaborates with many UN agencies, these address health, environment, economics and disaster issues. She has managed the WMO/GAW GURME project since its establishment in 1999. In addition to above mentioned GURME activities, the GURME Training Team with international participation has developed a comprehensive training course on air quality forecasting that is delivered in different regions of the world. Dr Jalkanen was employed by the Air Quality Department of FMI (1983-1996), when she joined WMO.

Selected relevant publications
Jalkanen, L., (2007): Air Quality, in Elements for Life, Tudor Rose, WMO.
Jalkanen, L., Mäkinen, A., Häsänen, E., Juhanoja, J., (2000): The effect of large anthropogenic particulate emissions on atmos. aerosols, deposition and bioindicators in the eastern Gulf of Finland region. Sci Tot Env. 262 (2000) 123.
Swietlicki, E., Kemp, K., Wåhlin, P., Bartnicki, J., Jalkanen, L., Krejci, R., (1999): Source-receptor relationships for heavy metals in the European atmosphere, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. In Phys. Res., B 150, 322.
Baltensberger, U., Jalkanen, L., (1998): Aerosol studies in the WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch Programme, Journal of Aerosol Science, 29, S165.
Jalkanen, L., Virkkula, A., (1995): The effect of emissions from Estonia and the St. Petersburg area on air quality on the southeast coast of Finland, Paper 282. In: Anttila, P. et al. (ed.), Proc. of the 10th World Clean Air Congress, Espoo, Finland, May 28 - June 2, 1995, Vol. 2. The Finnish Air Pollution Prevention Society, Helsinki, Finland.



FP7 EC MEGAPOLI, 2008-2011