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.

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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.

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Gentle winds blow during the descent of most Mars landers

Gentle winds blow during the descent of most Mars landers

High resolution images of jettisoned lander hardware acquired by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor at various landing sites on Mars have been analysed to measure winds in the Martian atmosphere.

A computer model was used to reconstruct the trajectory of the lander, parachutes and heat shields to determine the wind speed and direction below an altitude of about 10 km. Mars wind measurements in this region of the atmosphere are currently lacking and so these additional measurements will be useful for Mars atmosphere modellers and investigators. "Below an altitude of 10 km we found the wind speed to be blowing at a speed of no more than 8 m/s for nearly all cases. This wind speed would be equivalent in terms of strength to a ‘calm' or ‘light air' on the Beaufort scale on Earth", says researcher Mark Paton.

Winds measurements were obtained from nearly all the successful missions including the Viking landers, landing in the 1976, right up to Curiosity that landed in 2012.In addition  the landing sites of  two unsuccessful landers, Beagle 2 and Schiaparelli, were analysed. For these two cases images of their landed parachutes and heat shields could be used to measure the wind speed and direction they experienced during their respective descents. Low wind speeds were measured in both cases suggesting the atmosphere was relatively calm. Out of the eight cases studied we encountered one outlier in terms of wind speed. This was for the Phoenix lander which in 2008 landed close to the Martian northern cap. Our results suggest a strong tail wind of around 20 m/s was blowing during its descent on the parachute with a gust blowing closer to the surface.

More information:

Researcher Mark Paton,
Paton, M. D., Harri, A.-M. and Savijärvi, H., Measurement of Martian boundary layer winds by the displacement of jettisoned lander hardware, Icarus, 309, 345-362 (2018)

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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.