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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.

A new method for monitoring soil frost/thaw state using a radar satellite

A new method for monitoring soil frost/thaw state using a radar satellite

A new method for monitoring soil frost/thaw state in boreal forest environments was developed. The method enables nearly daily monitoring in a 1 km spatial resolution.

The study investigated how the European Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar satellite can be used for the estimation of soil frost/thaw (F/T) state in the boreal forest zone. The method allows almost daily monitoring in a 1 km spatial resolution from Finland, and possibly from other northern regions as well. The method can be beneficial for example to users of heavy equipment such as forest harvesting operators, who need up to date information about the bearing capacity of the terrain, which highly depends on the soil F/T state.

Forest harvesting is preferably done during the soil frost season. Up to date and continuous information regarding soil frost/thaw state would therefore be helpful in planning forestry operations. Photograph: Tuija Pauhu, Itä-Savo

The main challenge in the study was the influence of tree canopy on the radar signal. Most of the radar signal is scattered from the tree canopy, and only a small part of it penetrates through the canopy to the ground surface and back to the radar. Backscattering components originating from the ground surface and the tree canopy were separated by modeling, and were used to estimate the soil F/T state by a 2-dimensional linear classification algorithm. In addition to the remote sensing data, soil temperature and water content measurements, as well as air temperature measurements near the Sodankylä Arctic Space Centre (FMI-ARC) were used.

The study found that it was easier to estimate the soil state in soils with increased water content, because then, the contrast between the backscatter of frozen and thawed soil was higher. Even though the canopy backscatter is not directly related to the soil conditions, it is useful in estimating the soil F/T state because it is influenced by the air temperature below zero degrees, and by the snow properties.

The research was lead by Space and Earth Observation Centre (FMI-SPACE) scientists.

More information:

Research Scientist, Juval Cohen, 0503764128, juval.cohen@fmi.fi

J. Cohen, K. Rautiainen, J. Ikonen, J. Lemmetyinen, T. Smolander, J. Vehviläinen, J. Pulliainen. "A Modeling-Based Approach for Soil Frost Detection in the Northern Boreal Forest Region With C-Band SAR," in IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing. doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2018.2864635



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.