The atmosphere cannot be considered separately from its neighbouring systems. Among these are the hydrosphere, including the oceans, lakes, rivers and groundwater, and the cryosphere formed by the snow and ice masses of the earth. Hydrosphere geophysics can therefore be divided to three disciplines:
Physical oceanography is the study of hydrography and hydrodynamics describing the properties and motion of seawater. Important aspects are the exchanges of mass and energy between the ocean and the neighbouring systems, the atmosphere, land and glaciers. The group studies these topics by using, diagnosing and developing ocean models as a part of a climate model, such as EC-Earth. Modelling is supported with the use of satellite data and in-situ observations, for example as a part of the PEEX - Pan-Eurasian EXperiment. The main objective is, through a better understanding of oceanic variability, to improve predictions across a wide range of temporal scales from operational to centennial.
Hydrology examines the freshwater systems of the earth. The availability of fresh and clean water is crucial for ecosystems and society. In the future, their distribution and quality will become even more important due to population growth and climate change. Our research focus has been on the circulation, temperature and optical properties of water, and its climatological distribution, mostly in northern Europe. Hydrospheric research activities are also devoted to better understand the interactions between aquatic systems and the atmosphere through the ICOS network, including experimental and modelling approaches on surface energy balance, turbulence processes in the water and exchange of greenhouse gases.
Cryology is the study of snow cover, glaciers, lake and river ice, sea ice and frozen ground. We investigate linkages and feedbacks between the cryosphere and the neighbouring systems, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere. Our research involves dynamic modelling of ice caps, ice shelves and sea ice. We use, diagnose and develop a sea-ice model as a part of long-range forecasting systems, mainly the EC-Earth climate model. The cryology group works closely with the Finnish Meteorological Institute and CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd. Several field campaigns have been conducted at university research stations in Finland and the Finnish research station Aboa in Antarctica.