ECMWF in Toulouse: interview with Laurence Rouïl, Head of the Environmental Modelling and Decision-making Department at Ineris

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Ineris (the French National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks) is a public institution supervised by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, known in French as the Department for envrionnement. Ineris dedicates itself to the assessment and prevention of the risks that economic activities can pose to health, the safety of people and property, as well as the environment. The Institute also provides support to help industrial companies adapt and comply with these constraints.

Laurence Rouïl is in the charge of Ineris’s “Environment Modelling and Decision-making” department and plays a key role in national air quality policies. With the upcoming relocation of some of the ECMWF’s operations, Laurence explains why she believes France to be the ideal location for a third site.

Can you tell us more about your role in air quality regulation?

I am in charge of the "Environmental Modelling and Decision-making" department at Ineris. This is where databases, models and decision support methods are developed to better manage environmental risks.
In 2004, I was a key contributor to the national air quality forecasting system, called PREV’AIR, as well as to many research and consultancy initiatives. One of my main responsibilities is to support the Department for envrionnement in defining and implementing management policies at both national and international levels.
In 2014, I was elected chair of the EMEP Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution Program, which supports the UN Convention of the same name.

Why do you think France is the ideal location for the new ECMWF?

The third ECMWF site would host the Copernicus programme’s Atmosphere and Climate Services. France has always been highly involved in these segments. For instance, France is one of the few European countries where air quality regulations recognise numerical prediction systems as an integral part of the monitoring system. Thus, France has developed a high-level scientific ecosystem, internationally recognized as such, of which Toulouse is one of the nerve centres, both for its academic and technological dynamism.

How is Ineris data on air quality useful for the work carried out by ECMWF?

The data we generate at Ineris is used by many organisations, including the ECMWF. It is central to our ability to forecast and analyse air quality in Europe, using the most efficient in situ and satellite observation tools and models. The PREV’AIR system generates air quality forecasts and air quality maps based on such data. It is also a precious indicator of the effectiveness of public policy, which we assess to support the Department for envrionnement.

How is the presence of meteorological organisations beneficial to the work carried out by ECMWF, in particular within the framework of the Copernicus programme?

Organisations such as Ineris, Météo-France and the CNRS (to name but a few) are all involved in ambitious programmes to develop Copernicus services in the areas of atmosphere and climate. The proximity between these organisations and ECMWF can only lead to a greater exchange forum of experience and skills, much to the benefit of each team’s work and, more globally, for atmosphere and climate themselves.