Space Research and Observation Technologies
The research unit studies near space, the space effects on Earth's upper atmosphere and the planets of the solar system. In addition, the unit develops new technologies for space research and weather radar measurements.
Planetary research in the unit is motivated by the goal to better understand Earth's atmosphere through comparisons with other planetary atmospheres. The research on space weather seeks to minimize the hazards for technical systems and to facilitate tourism and aurora watching. New methods in radar technology can provide more accurate and more versatile information needed to improve short term weather forecasting.
The unit has the following four groups:
Space Weather Research
The group studies electro-magnetic phenomena in near space and the upper atmosphere that are generally known as space weather. The group develops forecasting methods and creates meaningful products and services for the society. The group is responsible for the space weather services provided by the Finnish Meteorological Institute including daily aurora forecasts and alerts for authorities during severe space storms. The magnetic field measurements in Finland are monitored by the group.
Observation and Measuring Systems
The group develops observational and analytical systems based on advanced technologies applied in smart traffic, weather radar systems and remote sensing. The group helps to develop and maintain the observational systems at Sodankylä.
The group develops methodologies to study atmospheric phenomena such as precipitation, convection and wind especially by applications of weather radar measurements. The dual-polarization radars of the Finnish Meteorological Institute can be used to differentiate between different phases of precipitation such as water rain, snow, and hail. Further, special natural phenomena such as flocks of migratory birds, kaleidoscopes of butterflies, or insect swarms can be identified. The group is developing new radar based methods for precipitation nowcasting.
Planetary Research and Space Technology
The group studies the planets of the solar system with a special focus on the troposphere of the Martian atmosphere. The group fabricates instrumentation for planetary probes and develops a new propolsion system based on the concept of electric solar wind sail.