Research

The Master's Programme in Atmospheric Sciences (ATM-MP) is a research-oriented programme and the obtained Master's degree gives you a good foundation if you are interested in proceeding to doctoral level studies. The Doctoral Programme of Atmospheric Sciences (ATM-DP) organises the doctoral education of the divisions and research groups involved in ATM-MP, and thus provides a straightforward opportunity for you to continue with postgraduate studies.

All the units teaching in the programme belong to the National Centre of Excellence (FCoE) in Atmospheric Science – From Molecular and Biological processes to the Global Climate (ATM), which is a multidisciplinary team of the Departments of Physics, Forest Sciences and Chemistry at the University of Helsinki, the Department of Applied Physics at the University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio) and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

The main objective of FCoE ATM is to quantify the feedbacks between the atmosphere and biosphere in a changing climate. The main focus of the research is on investigating the following topics:

  1. Understanding the climatic feedbacks and forcing mechanisms related to aerosols, clouds, precipitation and biogeochemical cycles.
  2. Developing, refining and utilising the newest measurement and modelling techniques, from quantum chemistry to observations and models of global earth systems.
  3. Creating a comprehensive understanding of the role of atmospheric clusters and aerosol particles in regional and global biogeochemical cycles of water, carbon, sulphur, nitrogen and their linkages to atmospheric chemistry.
  4. Integrating the results in the context of understanding regional and global Earth systems.

In addition to the research focus of FCoE, current research in hydrospheric geophysics at the University of Helsinki has an emphasis on cryology, with a focus on the effect of aerosols on Indian glaciers, the impact of climate change on the Arctic environment, the dynamics of the Austfonna ice cap in Svalbard, and the winter season in the coastal zone of the Baltic Sea.

The Dynamic Meteorology group studies a wide range of topics all of which are related to better understanding the Earth's weather and climate. Currently our research focuses on 3 key aims:

  • Understanding the formation of tropical deep convection and its roles in extended range predictability of mid-latitude weather and global climate change
  • Interactions of the atmospheric aerosols and microphysical processes with the large-scale flow in the present and future climates
  • Dynamics of mid-latitude weather systems and hydrological cycle in a changing climate

In our research we utilize observations, reanalysis data sets, and numerical models of the atmosphere and climate system. Please see “Research” for more about our on-going research.

Read more about the Computational aerosol physics project

Atmospheric deep convection means thermally direct circulations that result from the action of gravity upon an unstable vertical distribution of mass. Deep convection is the cause of practically all precipitation in the tropics and most of the warm season precipitation in midlatitudes. Despite significant research, our basic understanding of what controls deep convection is still incomplete. This means that representing deep convection in numerical models (from weather prediction models to climate models) is difficult and such models often fail to accurately simulate the occurrence and characteristics of deep convection. Our group is currently analysing observations of deep convection in the tropics to better understand the mechanisms that control deep convection. 

The Dynamic Meteorology group studies a wide range of topics all of which are related to better understanding the Earth's weather and climate. Currently our research focuses on 3 key aims:

  • Understanding the formation of tropical deep convection and its roles in extended range predictability of mid-latitude weather and global climate change
  • Interactions of the atmospheric aerosols and microphysical processes with the large-scale flow in the present and future climates
  • Dynamics of mid-latitude weather systems and hydrological cycle in a changing climate

In our research we utilize observations, reanalysis data sets, and numerical models of the atmosphere and climate system. Please see “Research” for more about our on-going research.

Read more about the Dynamic Meteorology project.

Earth System Modeling group develops and applies large scale models ranging from global aerosol or vegetation models to fully coupled Earth System Models (ESM). The main tools of the group are two ESMs. University of Helsinki has been actively using and developing MPI-ESM already since 2005. Recently, the group has joined both Nordic collaboration with the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM) and European collaboration with the EC-Earth model.  The group is strongly linked to other research groups in the Center Of Excellence,and national collaboration with e.g. Finnish Meteorological Institute is established by several joint projects as well as frequent common meetings and seminars on ESM topics.

The group develops the ESMs in various aspects, e.g. regarding aerosol microphysics, aerosol opticsnew particle formationmethane emissions from peatlands. The research carried out with the ESMs addresses questions on e.g. anthropogenic climate change, climate effects of biofuels, biospheric responses to a changing climate and land use, and Earth System Feedbacks.

Read more about the Earth System Modeling project.