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University of Helsinki Faculty of XXX

Environmental Change Research Unit - ECRU


Tracking carbon dynamic patterns and climate forcing through post-glacial mire development history by combining modern flux measurements and palaeoecological information
Impacts of climate change on Arctic environment, ecosystem services and society (CLICHE)
Biomarkers – a new potential method to study highly humified peat components
Past water table fluctuations and related changes in carbon accumulation rates in mires – a quantitative multi proxy-based reconstruction from different climate regimes
Impacts of multiple environmental stressors on subarctic lake food web dynamics (MESS)
Climate variability in NW Europe during the past 4000 years and its ecological consequences (CLIM-ECO)
Science workshop on past, present and fututure climate change
Long-term changes in lake ice conditions in northern Finland
Responses of Boreal ecosystem carbon exchange to changing environment in different spatio-temporal scales
Former Projects

Contact information:

Environmental Change Research Unit (ECRU)
Department of Environmental Sciences
P.O. Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1)
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

Phone: +358-9-1911
(main switch board)
or see People


Jan Weckström


Climate workshop

Lakes and mires in NW Finnish Lapland, Photo: Gerd Weckström


Finnish Cultural Foundation

Duration: 2007-2009


NW-Finnish Lapland; Photo: Jan WeckströmIn Finland , there are several excellent research groups that have actively worked on different aspects of global climate change. However, within the area of climate research, specialists in Finland have remained largely within their sub-disciplines, each providing data with their individual attributes and limitations. The scientific necessity to break down these traditional barriers is now well recognised within the climate research community. The causes of environmental change are multiple, diverse and dispersed, and cannot be understood through scientific inquiry carried out along traditional disciplinary lines. Science workshop on Past, present and future climate change brings together leading research groups from different branches of the climate sciences, normally conducted in relative isolation, to focus on global climate warming and its biological and societal impacts. The activities provide an opportunity to enhance our understanding of multiple forcing factors and processes contributing to climate change and provide new insights of the critical factors that affect the consequences of global warming through synthetic, holistic approaches.

Objectives and approach

Science Workshop aims for an integrative, interdisciplinary, and multi-scale approach into global climate research, bringing together scientists whose scientific background is not only relevant for research into climate dynamics, but who represent different analytical skills and who often work on different spatial and temporal aspects of climate dynamics and environmental change. This is a collaborative and coordinated effort to find synergies and contact surfaces among different disciplines (atmospheric scientists, palaeoclimatologists, and biologists) working on climate change research on different spatial and temporal scales.

Our specific objectives for this collaborative effort are to:

(1) deepen our understanding of the basic principles of natural and human-induced climate variability and ecosystem dynamics;

(2) deepen our understanding on the role of greenhouse gases and atmospheric aerosol particles in climate change;

(3) construct a comprehensive view of biosphere-atmosphere interactions;

(4) enhance our ability to predict the response of biological systems to climate change.

Our scientific approach starts from basic nucleation theories followed by models of detailed aerosol dynamic/atmospheric chemistry and vegetation – atmosphere exchange and well-defined laboratory experiments with versatile continuous field measurements in our research stations, and extends to global-scale modeling utilizing data on natural climate variability and ecosystem dynamics acquired from a broad range of natural climate proxy archives. Our approach thus covers both experimental (laboratory and field experiments) and theoretical (basic theories, simulations, model development, parametrizations) points of view.

In practice, this science workshop will organize seminars and workshops, and enhance and promote the exchange of information, knowledge and thoughts among the participating research fields and groups. There will be 3 workshops and seminars organized in 2007 and 2008 (altogether 6) that will cover topics such as: integration of knowledge and datasets, past climate dynamics, feedback mechanisms, land – atmosphere interactions, the role of trace gases and aerosols, climate modeling, carbon cycling, holistic understanding of climate change in different spatial and temporal scales, and finally, synthesization of all activities, future gaps and research needs, future collaboration in joint research projects.

Participants in the Science Workshop

The core research teams include ECRU at the Department of Environmental Sciences, and the Aerosol Physics Group at the Department of Physical Sciences. The Science Workshop includes also collaborators from other universities and institutes in Finland and abroad.

The Science workshop has links to several international projects, such as PAGES (Past Global Changes) and iLEAPS (Integrated Land Ecosystem – Atmosphere Processes Study), both of which are core projects of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), and a Nordic Network of Palaeoclimatology (NEPAL), a collaborative network between palaeoclimatological research groups.

The leading scientists in Science Workshop on Past, present and future climate change include:

Professor Atte Korhola (Environmental Change, UHEL)

Doctor Sanna Sorvari (Palaeoecology, UHEL)

Adjunct professor Jan Weckström (Environmental change, UHEL)

Professor Seppä (Palaeoclimatology, UHEL)

Professor Lasse Holmström (Mathematics, University of Oulu )

Academy professor Markku Kulmala (Atmospheric physics, UHEL)

Professor Timo Vesala (Atmospheric physics, UHEL)

Professor Pertti Hari ( Forest ecology, UHEL)

Professor Ari Laaksonen (Applied physics, University of Kuopio )

Professor Yrjö Viisanen (Meteorology, FMI)


Our foreign collaborators include:

Professor Glen MacDonald (UCLA , USA )

Professor Jonathan Overpeck (University of Arizona , USA )

Professor Roy Thompson (University of Edinburgh , Scotland )

Professor Eystein Jansen (Bjerknes Climate Centre , Norway )

Professor Hans-Christen Hansson ( Stockholm University )

Professor Anders Lindroth (Lund University )

Professor Pavel Kabat (iLEAPS, The Netherlands)

Professor Meinrat O. Andreae (iLEAPS, MPI, Germany )


Contact information:

For more information about the the Science Workshop, please e-mail to

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