Oranssi Lumi - an exploratory journey through atmospheric events

Oranssi Lumi is an initiative aimed at sharing knowledge about aerosol science among schoolchildren through educational materials that combine science and art activities. These materials serve as a bridge between the topic of desert dust transport and climate, fostering meaningful discussions about climate change within the school environment. The initiative is led by a multidisciplinary team at the Finnish Meteorological Institute and is funded by the Kone Foundation.

The journey of a particle

By accompanying a dust particle travelling from the Sahara’s arid lands to Finland, we explore multiple processes and concepts that take place along this journey. How deserts become deserts, or the relationship between dust and clouds, among others, are scientific phenomena presented in an engaging way in these educational materials. All the topics within this natural phenomenon of dust transport are explored from multiple angles, enabling its implementation by teachers of different disciplines: music, physics, language, and more.

The materials target education professionals teaching grades 1-9 both in formal or informal learning environments. Our goal is to bring the topic of dust transport and deposition closer to educators so they feel inspired to implement the activities in their classrooms. In addition, we have included curriculum connections (Finnish National Education Curriculum), tips for activity facilitation, and additional resources for those wishing to deepen their knowledge even more.

The educational materials will be published soon, stay tuned!

Words Oranssi Lumi.

An intertwined approach

These inspirational materials are the outcome of a co-creation process involving a multidisciplinary team. The concept, structure, content, and visual identity were created in a tight collaboration between the core team and other researchers and education professionals. In Oranssi Lumi we put the focus on an exploratory approach in which science and arts can complement each other.  

In our initiative, we want to highlight the human and artistic aspects of natural processes and events, since connecting with the emotional side of living in a changing world and environment brings us closer to society’s interests. 

Oranssi Lumi (“orange snow” in English) finds its inspiration in how the phenomenon of Saharan dust deposition has been previously experienced in Finland. The strong visual identity that accompanies the initiative and frames the materials is a key piece to conveying the message efficiently.  

Why Oranssi Lumi

This initiative originates from the natural event that occurred on the 23rd February 2021, when a visible layer of Saharan dust deposited on snow in Finland. The phenomenon intrigued citizens, as such long-range transported dust is not commonly observed in northern latitudes.

A successful citizen science campaign was launched by the Finnish Meteorological Institute to collect dust samples from all around Finland. The response from the community was incredible, not only were valuable samples gained from the scientific point of view but also it became clear how inspirational being part of this event and process was.

Exploring natural events with the community is a transformative journey that opens new avenues to include the citizen science approach into research and to create new science education initiatives. With Oranssi Lumi we believe to be serving a double purpose: disseminating information to be better prepared for future citizen science campaigns, bringing climate-related topics to the classroom, highlighting the importance of science-based knowledge and also connecting with the human side of natural events. All in all, our ultimate goal is raising awareness about climate change and the importance and impact of science on our lives and the planet.


This project has been supported financially by the Kone Foundation