Center of Excellence in Atmospheric Sciences 


We have published top-level research in >200 scientific articles during year 2015. Four researchers from the ATM division were selected as Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers year 2015: Markku Kulmala, Douglas Worsnop, Veli-Matti Kerminen, and Tuukka Petäjä. The head of the division Academy prof. Markku Kulmala published a comment paper in the journal Nature about the Atmospheric chemistry in China.

Members of the CoE ATM have received numerous awards during this year. Academy prof. Markku Kulmala received the Fedor P. Litke Gold Medal of the Russian Geographical Society, Distinguished Visiting Fellow status by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and was nominated as foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Science for his research on atmosphere and air quality. M. Kulmala was listed among the 10 most influential persons in Finnish scientific community by Kauppalehti. The 2015 Alfred Wegener Medal & Honorary Membership was awarded to prof. Sergej Zilitinkevich, and a silver medal from International Eurasian Academy of Sciences (IEAS) to research coordinator Hanna Lappalainen. Prof. Hanna Vehkamäki received the University of Helsinki Maikki Friberg-award for promoting equality at the University. Dr. Risto Makkonen received the FAAR-award for "pioneering work in global aerosol modeling", and Dr. Tareq Hussein received "Abdul Hameed Shooman Award for Arab Researchers". Dr. Jouni Räisänen was nominated as the teacher of the year by physics students in University of Helsinki (Resonanssi ry).

We have had a new European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant and an Academy professorship to our CoE ATM in 2015. Mikael Ehn received ERC Starting Grant for Comprehensive molecular characterization of secondary organic aerosol formation in the atmosphere. Professor Timo Vesala received the Academy of Finland professorship for exploring carbon and water cycles and biosphere feedbacks to climate.

We have been internationally active by leading large research and infrastructure projects. For example the ENVRI Plus (H2020) ( brings together 21 European Research infrastructures to create a more coherent, interdisciplinary and interoperable cluster of Environmental Research Infrastructures across Europe. CoE is leading this large cluster project, which started in spring 2015. Another example is FINNARP 2014 that arrived from their successful expedition to Antarctica, where they were studying aerosols, meteorology, snow and lakes. The group of researchers included people from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and University of Helsinki, including aerosol researchers from the ATM Division Mikko Sipilä and Tuija Jokinen. St Nord campaign in Greenland has been measuring aerosols and their formation mechanisms since February 2015. The campaign was run by CRAICC that is part of the Top-level Research Initiative (TRI), the largest joint Nordic research and innovation initiative to date, aiming to strengthen research and innovation regarding climate change issues in the Nordic Region.

The European Commission established officially the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS ERIC), a new pan-European environmental research infrastructure which aims to provide long-term carbon and greenhouse gas observations across Europe. Finland is the ICOS ERIC hosting country; Finland has led the preparatory phase since 2013 with the lead of Academy prof. Timo Vesala from the ATM Division. The ICOS has successfully completed almost a decade long process from entering the European Commission ESFRI Roadmap to establishment of the ICOS ERIC.

We have made efforts to get ACTRIS (Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace Gases Research Infrastructure) in the next ESFRI roadmap. Univ. of Helsinki, ATM division has been a partner in the EU-FP7-Actris project and has coordinated the Work Package 6 "Integration, outreach, and sustainability". Since 1 May 2015, ACTRIS has been followed up by the EU H2020 project ACTRIS-2. Finnish Meteorological Institute and Univ. of Eastern Finland are associated partners in ACTRIS. ACTRIS Science Case and Summary of the Plan for Finland 2015 – 2020 has been written. Also letters of intent for collaborating in setting up the ACTRIS consortium as a European Research infrastructure and for expressing interest to provide funding and support for that process have been collected from the national parties.

We have continued developing national and international network of field stations measuring the relationship of atmosphere and different ecosystems. The Global-SMEAR initiative has been presented to ministries of Education, Environment and Agriculture, and to the EU Commissioner Moedas at the University opening in Sep 2015. The aim of the initiative is to promote the development of an integrated measurement station network of 200 highly equipped stations all around the world.


Photo 2. Station for Measuring Ecosystem-Atmosphere Relationship, SMEAR II. [Photos by Juho Aalto]

We participated in organizing two COP 21 Side Events in the Nordic Pavilion of the Paris Climate Conference: one discussed results of Nordic top level research on the interaction of Boreal ecosystems and atmosphere, and the other discussed the strong need for a comprehensive, integrated and well-organized scientific observation system on carbon and greenhouse gases as well as air quality in order to support mitigation and adaptation.

Sustainable Earth System Manifesto by Grand Challenges & Northern Societies Initiative was published in co-operation between our Center of Excellence and The Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies – Choices of Russian Modernisation.

We have launched this year CoE ATM Science Forum to increase internal communication within the CoE. The idea in this series of seminars is that there is first a plenary presentation by a senior scientist followed by a scientific presentation by a post doc or PhD student. CoE ATM Science Forum was organized four times in year 2015, and the number of participants was around 60 each time. The yearly CoE seminar was held in Kuopio in 22.-24. September 2015 with 80 participants.