Atmospheric measurements

The Atmospheric measurements group studies tropospheric aerosols and their interaction with cloud droplets by conducting long-term in-situ and Lidar measurements and targeted campaigns.

Continuous measurements are conducted at Puijo, Savilahti, and Vehmasmäki measurement stations in Kuopio. The measurements are part of EARLINET/ACTRIS and PollyNet networks. We also actively participate in international campaigns elsewhere in Finland and abroad. The group works in close collaboration with the aerosol research groups at the University of Eastern Finland, particularly in studies on atmospheric aging and health effects of combustion emissions in campaigns carried out in ILMARI.

Measurement site at Vehmasmäki in Kuopio, nearby the radio and television transmitting mast. Finnish Meteorological Institute performs continuous measurements both in the mast and in, on, and next to a measurement container with several instruments.
Measurement site at Vehmasmäki in Kuopio, Finland. Photo: Mika komppula.

Current research topics

  • Aerosol profiles and aerosol typing with lidars

  • Algorithm development for lidar retrievals (e.g. pollen typing)

  • Aerosol-cloud interactions

  • Atmospheric icing

  • Health effects of aerosols

Projects / Research highlight

Sharpening the image of the interplay between cloud top dynamics and microphysics (SHARPCLOUD)

The impacts of aerosol on cloud properties comprise one of the largest sources of uncertainty in estimates of anthropogenic climate change. The main cause for this is the buffered nature of the cloud systems. Also, representing the aerosol-cloud interactions in climate models is highly challenging due to the poor spatial resolution of the models. Here we propose a bottom-up approach to quantify how the interplay between entrainment mixing, radiation and microphysical processes modifies the cloud top properties, and how these changes penetrate through the cloud layer. We will employ novel holographic imaging methods, traditional instrumentation, and cutting edge aerosol-cloud-precipitation modelling tools for measuring cloud microphysical properties and their spatial variability down to a centimeter scale. This high accuracy will help us to understand the cloud top dynamics and microphysics better and to narrow the gap between satellite retrievals and current global scale modelling tools.

Aeroallergens and immunological preparedness for future climate scenarios: implications for public health promotion (ALL-IMPRESS)

Increase in pollen allergies, longer aeroallergen seasons and worsening of symptoms may be the first and the most significant health consequences of climate change in Finland, leading to substantial societal and economic burden. The project aims to produce, interpret and disseminate new knowledge and methodologies needed for the better forecasting of allergic disease burden in future climate scenarios. The ultimate goal is to evaluate and interpret the interconnection between climate change, aeroallergens and immunological preparedness and to translate findings into promotion of public health and societal adaptation.

Detailed measurement of cloud properties with a holographic microscope (PERHO)

We pilot holographic imaging for measuring the cloud droplet properties in-situ with high spatial and temporal resolution and cost efficiently. A holographic imaging sensor has already proven to work well in a fixed measurement setup, and now we will install a similar but miniaturized sensor on a miniature aircraft that is substantially easier to control and cheaper than traditional aircraft experiments. The new sensor will enable investigating the cloud properties during their whole lifetime, starting from the cloud formation at its bottom and ending up either to evaporation of the droplets at the cloud edges or rain formation. The method and the more accurate results can be exploited by institutes researching cloud microphysical properties in different atmospheric conditions for improving, for example, climate and weather forecasting models, visibility observations at airports, and icing forecasting for aviation and wind energy production.

Real-time characterization of atmospheric Pollen with active remote sensing (RECAP)

Various networks are built to advance our knowledge of pollen particles, but very little is known about their vertical distribution and their long/short-range transport. In this study we will use sophisticated lidar measurement techniques to retrieve the missing long-term and real-time vertical information on pollen properties. The information is used to validate the pollen model, and utilize the results for space-borne lidar to provide spatial distribution of pollen.

Optimization of Aerosol Seeding In rain enhancement Strategies (OASIS)

Aerosol particles can strongly impact cloud formation, cloud microphysics and the onset of precipitation. However, the associated physical processes remain poorly quantified, to a large part because of the highly varying aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions in different meteorological and environmental conditions. This lack of theoretical understanding makes effective cloud seeding in the real atmosphere a challenge. The overall objective of the project is to provide solid scientific knowledge of optimized aerosol seeding strategies for precipitation enhancement in the UAE region. The work combines experimental, theoretical and modeling approaches to simultaneously advance the fundamental knowledge underlying rain enhancement efforts, and to provide practical guidance and tools for future field explorations.



Recent science news from the group

Holograms can be used for precise depictions of cloud droplets

Fine particle emissions from diesel fuel do not significantly promote the formation of ice crystals in mixed clouds

Pollen characterization is possible using automatically retrieved lidar data in lidar networks

Windy over Helsinki? Scientist uncovered direction-dependent wind patterns with 3D scanning lidar

The mass of smoke particles was measured with a ceilometer

Fine particulate matter in urban air can also impair the blood values of generally healthy people

Recent study takes a step towards distinguishing pollen types in the air from lidar measurements

Lidar can also be used for cirrus observations

Optical and geometrical aerosol particle properties over the United Arab Emirates were assessed