Research on three branches of activity

High-quality research is utilized to develop services to benefit our everyday life. Visible examples are improvement of weather forecasts, development of new expert and warning services as well as applications of the newest research results.

The meteorological and marine research programme does basic and applied research on meteorology, atmospheric science and physical oceanography. Research subjects include forecast models for different time frames, scientific applications and remote sensing observations linked to the research area as well as the effects of climate change and how to adapt to them.
The climate research programme does basic and applied research on the different components of the climate system. The research subjects are especially past, current and future climate as well as the composition of the atmosphere and its effects on climate change and air quality. Some of the employees of the programme work at the office in Kuopio.
The space and earth observation centre is responsible for the research of the polar regions and near space as well as developing technology related to the activity. The research subjects are especially arctic research and remote sensing, new observation methods and space. The Arctic Space Centre and Sodankylä office are a part of the Space and earth observation centre.

Science news

FMI's researchers publish about 300 peer-reviewed articles annually.

In Science News we publish current information about FMI's studies on the weather, the sea and the climate.

New estimates for available carbon budget

New estimates for available carbon budget

The Finnish Meteorological Institute has participated in research to estimate, based on climate model results and measurements, the maximum amount of carbon dioxide that can be released into the atmosphere without passing the climate warming limits set by the Paris Climate Agreement.

The fresh research has provided estimates that if only carbon dioxide emissions are considered then the total carbon dioxide budget that would keep warming below two degrees would be around 5000 gigatonnes. At the moment, human carbon dioxide emissions alone amount to around 36 gigatonnes per year. ‘Unfortunately, if we add up human emissions from the pre-industrial age to the present, then around 2000 gigatonnes out of the 5000 total have already been released into the atmosphere – so the situation is worrying,' explains Finnish Meteorological Institute researcher Antti-Ilari Partanen, who is currently carrying out research at Concordia University and was involved in the study.

When the warming effect of other greenhouse gases is also included in the carbon budget calculations, the quantity of emissions remaining is even smaller. ‘Instead of 5000 gigatonnes, we are speaking of only around 4000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. The size of the gap between these two figures depends largely on the development of climate policy worldwide. If emissions of other greenhouse gases and black carbon can be effectively reduced, this will increase slightly the available carbon budget,' Dr Partanen adds.

Large uncertainties related to carbon budget

‘Because it is easy to understand, the carbon budget is an excellent tool for climate policy,' Mr Partanen explains. It contains inherently the idea that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to zero and that the time available for this is limited.

There are still large uncertainties regarding the carbon budget due to lack of understanding of how the climate operates and lack of knowledge of how successful future climate policy will be. There is a surprisingly linear relationship between global warming and human carbon dioxide emissions since the pre-industrial age regardless of where and when these emissions were produced. By making use of this relationship, it is possible to define the ‘carbon budget' that corresponds to a particular increase in global temperatures.

The research was published in the Current Climate Change Reports journal, and it was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Emil Aaltonen Foundation. The authors of the review article included researchers from Concordia University, Sherbrooke University and Simon Fraser University in Canada, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the British universities of Oxford, Exeter and Leeds.

Further information:

Antti-Ilari Partanen, (Most easily contacted by email due to time difference)

Matthews, H.D., Landry, JS., Partanen, AI. et al. Curr. Clim. Change Rep. (2017). doi:10.1007/s40641-017-0055-0

Science news archive

Contact information

Scientific Director Ari Laaksonen
tel. +358 539 5530

Meteorological and Marine Research Programme
Director Sami Niemelä
tel. +358 29 539 4172

Climate Research Programme
Director  Hannele Korhonen
tel. +358  29 539 2135

Space and Earth Observation Centre
Director Jouni Pulliainen
tel. +358 29 539 4701

FMI publications

FMI´s own publications series are:

  • FMI Contributions: high-quality peer-reviewed research results, mainly doctoral dissertations
  • FMI Reports: current research results mainly for customers and other stakeholders

All publications from 2016 onwards can be found on Helda.