Arctic Meteorology

In the Meteorological Research Unit, the Polar Meteorology and Climatology group carries out research on the Arctic climate, meteorology, and glaciology.

The main research topics are as follows:

  • Changing climate system in the Arctic, with focus on atmosphere – sea ice – ocean interactions
  • Linkages between the Arctic warming and mid-latitude weather
  • Atmospheric moisture budget in the Arctic
  • Atmospheric boundary layer over sea ice, leads, and polynyas
  • Inter-annual and decadal variability of the Arctic sea ice  
  • Wind forcing on sea ice drift
  • Snow and sea ice thermodynamics
  • Svalbard meteorology
  • Meteorology and surface melt over Greenland
  • Improvement of modelling capabilities for both operational and climate applications.

The ongoing projects include:

  • Changing Arctic Climate System: Interaction of Stratosphere, Troposphere, and Sea Ice (CACSI), funded by the Academy of Finland, 2012-2016
  • Towards better tailored weather and marine forecasts in the Arctic to serve sustainable economic activities and infrastructure (TWASE), funded by the Academy of Finland, 2014-2018
  • Nordic Centre of Excellence: Stability and Variations of Arctic Land Ice (SVALI), funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, 2011-2015
  • European-Russian Centre for cooperation in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic environmental and climate research (EuRuCAS), funded by the European Commission, 2012-2015.
  • Wind Gusts in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer, funded by Väisälä Foundation, 2014 – 2015.
  • Arctic Freshwater Synthesis, 2014-2015

More information: Timo Vihma / Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Measurements of solar radiation and thermal longwave radiation in Svalbard (photo: Timo Vihma).


In winter Arctic sea ice releases a lot of heat and moisture to the atmosphere. The ice ridges and floe edges enhance the wind forcing on sea ice drift (photo: Timo Vihma).

Deployment of a weather mast in Svalbard (photo Timo Vihma).


Recent publications

Tastula, E.-M., B. Galperin, J. Dudhia, M. A. LeMone, S. Sukoriansky, and T. Vihma (2015). Systematic assessment of the differences in the physics and performance Methodical comparison of the QNSE and MYJ PBL schemes for stable conditions.  Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., accepted.

Sterk, H. A. M., G. J. Steeneveld, T. Vihma, P. S. Anderson, F. C. Bosveld, and A. A. M. Holtslag (2015). Modelling stable boundary layers with low winds over snow Part I: A WRF model evaluation. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc, accepted.

Mazon, J., S. Niemelä, D. Pino, H. Savijärvi, and T. Vihma (2015). Snow bands over the Gulf of Finland in wintertime. Tellus, accepted.

Vihma, T. (2014). Effects of Arctic sea ice decline on weather and climate: a review. Surv. Geophys., 35, 1175–1214, DOI 10.1007/s10712-014-9284-0

Vihma, T., R. Pirazzini, I. Fer, I. A. Renfrew, J. Sedlar, M. Tjernström, C. Lüpkes, T. Nygård, D. Notz, J. Weiss, D. Marsan, B. Cheng, G. Birnbaum, S. Gerland, D. Chechin, and J. C. Gascard (2014). Advances in understanding and parameterization of small-scale physical processes in the marine Arctic climate system: a review. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 9403-9450, doi:10.5194/acp-14-9403-2014.

Uotila, P., A. Karpechko, and T. Vihma (2014). Links between the Arctic sea ice and climate extremes in China: An alternative view. Adv. Polar Sci., 25(4), 222-233, doi:10.13679/j.advps.2014.4.00001.

Vihma T, B. Cheng, P. Uotila, L. Wei, and T. Qin (2014). Linkages between Arctic sea ice cover, large-scale atmospheric circulation, and weather and ice conditions in the Gulf of Bothnia, Baltic Sea. Adv. Polar Sci., 2014, 25: 289-299, doi:10.13679/j.advps.2014.4.00289.

Leppäranta, M., T. Vihma, and H Wu (2014). Foreward for the special issue "The Rapid Change of Arctic Sea Ice and its Possible Effects on High- and Mid-Latitude Weather and Climate", Adv. Polar Sci., 25, no. 4.

Nygård, T., T. Valkonen, and T. Vihma (2014). Characteristics of Arctic low-tropospheric humidity inversions based on radio soundings. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 1959–1971, 2014, doi:10.5194/acp-14-1959-2014.

Cheng, B.,  T. Vihma, L. Rontu1, A. Kontu, H. K. Pour, C. Duguay, and J. Pulliainen (2014). Evolution of snow and ice temperature, thickness and energy balance in Lake Orajärvi, northern Finland. Tellus A 2014, 66, 21564,

Lappalainen, H. K., T. Petäjä, J. Kujansuu, V-M- Kerminen, A Shvidenko, J. Bäck, T. Vesala, T. Vihma, G. de Leeuw, A Lauri, T. Ruuskanen, V. B. Lapshin, N. Zaitseva, O. Glezer, M. Arshinov, D. V. Spracklen, S. R. Arnold, S. Juhola, H. Lihavainen, Y. Viisanen, N. Chubarova, S. Chalov, N. Filatov, A. Skorokhod, N. Elansky, E. Dyukarev, I. Esau, P. Hari, V. Kotlyakov, N. Kasimov, V. Bondur, G. Matvienko, A. Baklanov, E. Mareev, Y. Troitskaya, A. Ding, H. Guo, S. Zilitinkevich, and M. Kulmala (2014). Pan Eurasian experiment (PEEX) – a research initiative meeting the grand challenges of the changing environment of the northern Pan-Eurasian Arctic-boreal areas. Geography, Environment, Sustainability, 7, 13-48.

Tetzlaff, A., C. Lüpkes, G. Birnbaum, J. Hartmann, T. Nygård, and T. Vihma (2014). Brief Communication: Trends in sea ice extent north of Svalbard and its impact on cold air outbreaks as observed in spring 2013. The Cryosphere, 8, 1757–1763, doi:10.5194/tc-8-1757-2014.

Döscher, R., Vihma, T., and Maksimovich, E. (2014). Recent advances in understanding the Arctic climate system state and change from a sea ice perspective: a review, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 13571-13600, doi:10.5194/acp-14-13571-2014.

Tetzlaff, A., Kaleschke, L., Lüpkes, C., Ament, F., and Vihma, T. (2013). The impact of  heterogeneous surface temperatures on the 2-m air temperature over the Arctic Ocean under     clear skies in spring, The Cryosphere, 7, 153-166, doi:10.5194/tc-7-153-2013.

Cheng, B., Mäkynen, M., Similä, M., Rontu L., and Vihma, T. (2013). Modelling snow and ice thickness in the coastal Kara Sea, Russian Arctic, Ann. Glaciol., 54(62), 105-113, doi: 10.3189/2013AoG62A180

Tian, T., F. Boberg, O.B. Christensen, J.H. Christensen, J. She, and T. Vihma (2013). Resolved complex coastlines and land sea contrasts in a high-resolution regional climate model: a comparative study using prescribed and modelled SSTs. Tellus A 2013, 65, 19951,

Boisvert, L., T. Markus, and T. Vihma (2013), Moisture flux changes and trends for the entire Arctic in 2003-2011 derived from EOS Aqua data. J. Geophys. Res., 118, 5829–5843, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20414.
Jakobson, L., T. Vihma, E. Jakobson, T. Palo, A. Männik, and J. Jaagus (2013). Low-level jet characteristics over the Arctic Ocean in spring and summer. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 11089-11099, doi:10.5194/acp-13-11089-2013.

Chung, C. E., H. Cha, T. Vihma, P. Räisänen, and D. Decremer (2013). On the possibilities to use atmospheric reanalyses to evaluate the warming structure in the Arctic. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 11209-11219, doi:10.5194/acp-13-11209-2013.

Kral, S. T., Sjöblom, A. and Nygård, T. (2013), Observations of summer turbulent surface fluxes in a High Arctic fjord, Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., doi:10.1002/qj.2167.

Atlaskin E, Vihma T. (2012). Evaluation of NWP results for wintertime nocturnal boundary-layer temperatures over Europe and Finland. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 138: 1440–1451, DOI:10.1002/qj.1885

Vihma, T., P. Tisler, and P. Uotila (2012), Atmospheric forcing on the drift of Arctic sea ice in 1989–2009, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L02501, doi:10.1029/2011GL050118.

Kilpeläinen, T., T. Vihma, M. Manninen, A. Sjöblom, E. Jakobson, T. Palo and M. Maturilli (2012), Modelling the vertical structure of the atmospheric boundary layer over Arctic fjords in Svalbard, Quart. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc., DOI:10.1002/qj.1914.

Boisvert, L. N., T. Markus, C. L. Parkinson, and T. Vihma (2012), Moisture fluxes derived from EOS aqua satellite data for the North Water Polynya over 2003–2009, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D06119, doi:10.1029/2011JD016949.

Jakobson, E., T. Vihma, T. Palo, L. Jakobson, H. Keernik, and J. Jaagus (2012). Validation of atmospheric reanalyzes over the central Arctic Ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L10802, doi:10.1029/2012GL051591.

Maksimovich, E., and T. Vihma (2012), The effect of surface heat fluxes on interannual variability in the spring onset of snow melt in the central Arctic Ocean, J. Geophys. Res., 117, C07012, doi:10.1029/2011JC007220.

Tastula, E.-M, T. Vihma, and E. L. Andreas (2012), Modeling of the Atmospheric Boundary Layer over Antarctic Sea Ice in Autumn and Winter, Mon. Wea. Rev., 140, 3919–3935. doi:

Karvonen, J., Cheng, B., Vihma, T., Arkett, M., and Carrieres, T. (2012). A method for sea ice thickness and concentration analysis based on SAR data and a thermodynamic model, The Cryosphere, 6, 1507-1526, doi:10.5194/tc-6-1507-2012.

Lüpkes, C., T. Vihma, G. Birnbaum, S. Dierer, T. Garbrecht, V.M. Gryanik, M. Gryschka, J. Hartmann, G. Heinemann, L. Kaleschke, S. Raasch, H. Savijärvi, K.H. Schlünzen, and U. Wacker (2012), Mesoscale modelling of the Arctic atmospheric boundary layer and its interaction with sea ice, In: Lemke, P. and Jacobi, H.-W (Eds.): Arctic Climate Change - The     ACSYS Decade and Beyond, Atmospheric and Oceanographic Sciences Library, vol. 43, DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-2027-5

Vihma, T., T. Kilpeläinen, M. Manninen, A. Sjöblom, E. Jakobson, T. Palo, J. Jaagus, and M. Maturilli (2011), Characteristics of temperature and humidity inversions and low-level jets over Svalbard fjords in spring, Advances in Meteorology, Volume 2011, Article ID 486807, 14 p., doi:10.1155/2011/486807.

Vihma, T. (2011). Atmosphere-snow/ice interactions. In: V.P. Singh, P. Singh, U.K. Haritashya (Eds.): Encyclopedia of snow, ice and glaciers. Springer, Dortrecht, The Netherlands, p. 66-75.

Kilpeläinen, T., T. Vihma, and H. Olafsson (2011), Modelling of spatial variability and topographic effects over Arctic fjords in Svalbard, Tellus, 63A, 223–237. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0870.2010.00481.x

Mäkiranta, E., T. Vihma, A. Sjöblom, and E.-M. Tastula (2011), Observations and modelling of the atmospheric boundary layer over sea ice in a Svalbard fjord, Boundary-Layer Meteorol., 140, 105–123,  doi:10.1007/s10546-011-9609-1

Jakobson, E. and T. Vihma (2010), Atmospheric moisture budget over the Arctic on the basis of the ERA-40 reanalysis. Int. J. Climatol., 30: 2175–2194, DOI: 10.1002/joc.2039.

Lüpkes, C., T. Vihma, E. Jakobson, G. König-Langlo, and A. Tetzlaff (2010). Meteorological observations from ship cruises during summer to the central Arctic: A comparison with reanalysis data. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L09810, doi:10.1029/2010GL042724.

Riihelä. A., Laine, V., Manninen, T., Palo, T., and Vihma, T. (2010) Validation of the Climate-SAF surface broadband albedo product: comparisons with in situ observations over Greenland and the ice-covered Arctic Ocean. Remote Sensing of Environment, 114, 2779–2790.

Vihma, T. and J. Haapala (2009), Geophysics of sea ice in the Baltic Sea – a review, Progress in Oceanography, 80, 129-148 , doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2009.02.002.

Pirazzini, R. (2009). Challenges in snow and ice albedo parameterizations, Geophysica, 45(1-2), 41-62.

Lüpkes, C., T. Vihma, G. Birnbaum, and U. Wacker (2008), Influence of leads in sea ice on the temperature of the atmospheric boundary layer during polar night, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L03805, doi:10.1029/2007GL032461.

Vihma, T., J. Jaagus, E. Jacobson, and T. Palo (2008), Meteorological conditions in the Arctic Ocean in spring and summer 2007 as recorded on the drifting ice station Tara, Gephys. Res. Lett., 35, L18706, doi: 10.1029/2008GL034681.

Pirazzini, R. (2008). Factors controlling the surface energy budget over snow and ice (PhD Thesis). Finnish Meteorological Institute Contributions, 75, 48 p. + 6 appendices.

Pirazzini, R., and P. Räisänen (2008). A method to account for surface albedo heterogeneity in single column radiative transfer calculations under overcast conditions, J. Geopys. Res., 113, doi:10.1029/2008JD009815.

Tisler, P., T. Vihma, G. Müller, and B. Brümmer (2008), Modelling of warm-air advection over Arctic sea ice, Tellus, 60A, 775–788.

Cheng, B., Z. Zhang, T. Vihma, M. Johansson, L. Bian, Z. Li and H. Wu (2008). Model experiments on snow and ice thermodynamics in the Arctic Ocean with CHINARE2003 data, J. Geophys. Res., 113, C09020, doi:10.1029/2007JC004654.

Cheng, B., T. Vihma, Z. Zhang, Z. Li, and H. Wu (2008). Snow and sea ice thermodynamics in the Arctic: Model validation and sensitivity study against SHEBA data. Chinese J. Polar Sci., 19, 108-122.