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Arto Miettinen



Postdoctoral researcher,
adjunct professor of
Quaternary Geology

Department of Geosciences
and Geography
P.O.Box 64
(Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2a)
00014 University of Helsinki

tel: +358-9-191 50817



  • paleoceanography
  • diatoms

Research interests

  • Paleoceanography of the North Atlantic and Arctic regions
  • Quantifying of natural climate variability; i.e. quantitative high-resolution reconstructions of sea surface temperatures in the high-latitude oceans based on diatoms and transfer functions
  • Variability of the ocean circulation and seesaw patterns
  • Ocean-atmosphere interactions
  • Arctic sea ice variability
  • Sea level changes in the Baltic Sea basin during the Eemian (MIS 5e) and Holocene

Latest and active projects

    “Influence of the West Greenland Current on the Atlantic Meridional overturning Circulation (AMOC) and climate in the northern hemisphere during the last 8000 years”, 2013–

    At the first stage, this project aims to reconstruct sea surface temperatures (SSTs) with a decadal resolution from a marine sediment core Ga3-2 recovered from Narsaq Sund, southern Greenland, and the variability of the West Greenland Current in the eastern Labrador Sea during the last 8000 years. The generated SST reconstruction will be used together with the previous high-resolution SST reconstructions from the North Atlantic to synthesize the surface temperature and circulation patterns in the eastern Labrador Sea, and their influence on the deep water formation and the AMOC in the area. Finally, the influence of the reconstructed system on the northern hemisphere climate will be assessed.

    “Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and variability of the eastern branch of the Norwegian Atlantic Current in the SW Barents Sea and their influence on climate in Scandinavia during the last 6000 years (NACU)”, 2011–2013

    In this project, a marine sediment core JM05-085-GC from the SW Barents Sea was studied for diatoms for exploring quantitative SSTs, sea ice extent, and variability of the eastern branch of the Norwegian Atlantic Current (NwAC). The NwAC is the northernmost extension of the Gulf Stream, a conduit of warm and saline surface water from the equator and the North Atlantic to the Norwegian Sea and further north to the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean. The variability of the northern branches of the NwAC has a direct influence on SSTs and sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean and the Barents Sea, and climate in the Arctic and Scandinavia, e.g. the stronger eastern branch has a warming influence both for the waters of the Barents Sea and climate in Scandinavia, but it leads to a cooling in the Arctic (e.g. in Svalbard). The project is funded by the Kone Foundation.

    “Arctic Natural Climate and Environmental Changes and Human Adaption: From Science to Public awareness (SciencePub)”, 2007–2011

    “Arctic Ocean warming in the Past (WARMPAST)”, 2007–2011

    Both of these projects were International Polar Year (IPY) projects and part of “Arctic Paleoclimate and its extreme (APEX)”, and funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The overall aim of the projects was to advance our knowledge of climate warming in the Arctic, by studying past climate change. The present climate in the Arctic shows signs of rapid change with decreasing sea ice cover and increasing temperature of the Atlantic Water. Because the implications of this warming are highly uncertain, it is crucial to obtain long records of the climate changes in the past to assess the natural limits of Arctic climate. In order to obtain data on temperature, salinity etc in the water masses from the past when it was not possible to get instrumental measurements of these factors; we studied fossil micro-flora and micro-fauna in the sediments in addition to their chemical composition. Their composition and abundance depend on climatic factors like temperature and salinity of the sea water, thus showing how the marine environment and water masses were back in time (palaeoclimatic proxy data). Another aim of SciencePub and WARMPAST was to improve the proxies of ocean temperature and sea-ice by achieving high quality modern analogue data and develop new paleoclimatic proxies. In these projects, I worked as the postdoctoral researcher at the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) in Tromsö, Norway. My tasks were to study marine sediment cores for SST reconstructions from the Arctic areas, and improve the diatom calibration dataset for SSTs by a set of new surface sediment samples from the polar North Atlantic region, e.g. from the Fram Strait.

    Kongsfjord, Svalbard 2008

    The research vessel “Lance” of the Norwegian Polar Institute

    Arctic sea ice minimum, 81° N, September 2007

    “Enhanced palaeoreconstruction and integrated climate analysis through marine and ice core studies (EPICA-MIS)”,, 2007–2009.

    The objective of the EU funded EPICA-MIS was to produce palaeoreconstructions and integrated climate analysis through marine and ice core studies. It contributed to the development of novel paleoreconstruction methods by providing unique paleorecords and developing new proxies of critical properties of the climate system. The two Antarctic deep ice cores were completed reaching 800,000 years back in time. Novel multi-parameter and high-resolution records of climate-relevant parameters like ice isotopes, greenhouse gases, dust and soluble impurities were produced from the new Antarctic ice cores. They will be compared and correlated with palaeoreconstructions from marine, Greenland and other Antarctic records. My role within the marine geology group of the NPI and WP 4 in EPICA-MIS focused on sea surface temperature (SST) reconstructions with decadal resolution from well-dated marine cores from the subpolar North Atlantic. These high-resolution marine reconstructions will be compared with ice core data and older SST data from the northern and southern hemispheres to investigate bipolar seesaw effect in the surface waters and interhemispheric ocean-atmosphere coupling.


    Arcticles in peer-reviewed scientific journals

    Pearce, C., Weckström K., Sha, L., Miettinen, A. and Seidenkrantz, M.-S. The Holocene marine diatom flora of eastern Newfoundland bays. Submitted to Diatom Research.

    Schleussner, C.-F., Divine, D., Donges, J.F., Miettinen, A. and Donner, R.V. Evidence for a North Atlantic ocean circulation regime shift at the onset of the Little Ice Age. Submitted to Global and Planetary Change.

    Rinne, J., Alestalo, M. and Miettinen, A. in press. A 70-80 year periodicity identified from tree ring temperatures AD 550 - 1980 in Northern Scandinavia. Global and Planetary Change, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2014.01.008.

    Miettinen, A., Head, M. and Knudsen, K.L. 2014. Eemian sea-level highstand in the eastern Baltic Sea linked to long-duration White Sea connection. Quaternary Science Reviews 86,158–174, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.12.009.

    Miettinen, A., Koç, N. and Husum. K. 2013 Appearance of Pacific diatom Neodenticula seminae in the northern Nordic Seas – an indication of changes in Arctic sea ice and ocean circulation. Marine Micropaleontology 99, 2–7, doi: 10.1016/j.marmicro.2012.06.002.

    Lunetta, P., Miettinen, A., Spilling, K., Sajantila, A. 2013. False-positive diatom test: A real challenge? A post-mortem study using standardized protocols. Legal Medicine 15:5, 229–234.

    Miettinen A., Divine, D., Koç¸ N., Godtliebsen F., Hall I.R. 2012. Multicentennial variability of the sea surface temperature gradient across the subpolar North Atlantic over the last 2.8 kyr. Journal of Climate 25, 4205¬–4219.

    Godtliebsen, F., Holmström L., Miettinen, A., Erästö, P., Divine, D. and Koç¸ N. 2012. Pairwise Scale-Space Comparison of Time Series with Application to Climate Research. Journal of Geophysical Research 117, C03046, 10 PP., 2012, doi:10.1029/2011JC007546.

    Lunkka, J.-P., Putkinen Niko and Miettinen, A. 2012. Shoreline displacement in the Belomorsk are, NW Russia during the Younger Dryas Stadial. Quaternary Science Reviews 37, 26-37.

    Miettinen, A., Koç, N, Hall, I. R., Godtliebsen, F. and Divine, D. 2011. North Atlantic sea surface temperatures and their relation to the North Atlantic Oscillation during the last 230 years. Climate Dynamics 36, 533-543, doi: 10.1007/s00382-010-0791-5.

    Miettinen, A. 2011. Shore displacement in Western Uusimaa 500 BC–AD 1500. Iskos 19, 61-86.

    Salonen, V.-P., Kaakinen, A., Kultti, S., Miettinen, A., Eskola, K. O. and Lunkka, J. P. 2008. Middle Weichselian glacial event in the central part of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet recorded in the Hitura pit, Ostrobothnia, Finland. Boreas 37:1, 38-54.

    Miettinen, A., Sarmaja-Korjonen,K., Sonninen, E., Jungner, H., Lempiäinen, T., Ylikoski, K., Carpelan, C. and Mäkiaho, J.-P. 2008. The palaeoenvironment of the ’Antrea net find’. Iskos 16, 71-87.

    Miettinen, A., Alenius, T., Jansson, H. and Haggrén, G. 2007. Late Holocene sea-level changes along the southern coast of Finland, Baltic Sea. Marine Geology 242, 27-38.

    Miettinen, A., Savelieva, L., Dzhinoridze, R, Subetto, D. A., Arslanov, Kh. and Hyvärinen, H. 2007. Palaeoenvironment in the Karelian Isthmus, the easternmost part of the Gulf of Finland, during the Litorina Sea stage of the Baltic Sea history. Boreas 36:4, 441-458.

    Haila, H., Miettinen, A. and Eronen, M. 2006. Diatom succession of a dislocated Eemian sediment sequence at Mommark, South Denmark. Boreas 35:2, 378-384.

    Miettinen, A., Haila, H. and Eronen, M. 2005. Eemian crustal deformation in the eastern Baltic area in the light of the new sites at Peski, Russia and Põhja-Uhtju, Estonia. Quaternary International 130, 31-42.

    Miettinen, A. 2004. Holocene sea-level changes and glacio-isostasy in the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea. Quaternary International 120, 91-104.

    Hakala, A., Sarmaja-Korjonen, K. and Miettinen, A. 2004.The origin and evolution of Lake Vähä-Pitkusta, SW Finland – a multi-proxy study of a meromictic lake. Hydrobiologia 527, 85-97.

    Miettinen, A., Rinne, K., Haila, H., Hyvärinen, H., Eronen, M., Delusina, I., Kadastik, E., Kalm, V. and Gibbard, P. 2002. The marine Eemian of the Baltic: new pollen and diatom data from Peski, Russia, and Põhja-Uhtju, Estonia. Journal of Quaternary Science 17:5-6, 445–458.

    Miettinen, A. and Hyvärinen, H. 1997. Stratigraphical evidence of Baltic water level changes between 8 and 6 KA BP in a small lake basin on the coast of Gulf of Finland, SE Finland. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Finland 69:1-2, 43-53.

    Miettinen, A. 1996. Pielisen jääjärven kehityshistoria (The history of the Pielinen ice lake). Terra 108:1, 14-19.

    Book chapters

    Miettinen, A. Diatoms. In: Harff, J., Meschede, M., Petersen, S., Thiede, J. (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences, Springer, in press.

    Koç, N., Miettinen, A. and Stickley C. 2013. DIATOM RECORDS | North Atlantic and Arctic. In: Scott A. Elias (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, Elsevier B.V., pp. 567–576.

    Scientific monographs

    Miettinen, A. 2002. Relative sea level changes in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland during the last 8000 years. Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae, Geologica-Geographica 162, 100 pp. (PhD thesis)

    Other scientific publications

    Ukkonen, P., Miettinen, A. Ja Hanski, I. K. 2010. Mammutin kyynärluu ja Eem-meren sedimenttiä Vuosaaresta – suuri luu meren pohjalta. Geologi 62, 23–29.

    Miettinen, A. 2006. Hannusjärvi kuroutui Itämerestä. In: Hannusjärvi hetkiä – kerroksia – elämää. Espoon Hannusjärven suojely ry. Vantaa 2006, p. 21-22.

    Alenius, T., Haggrén, G., Jansson, H. ja Miettinen, A. 2004. Ulkosaariston asutuksesta autiokyläksi – Inkoon Ors poikkitieteellisenä tutkimuskohteena. SKAS 1/2004, 3-19.

    Miettinen, A., Eronen, M. and Hyvärinen, H. 1999. Land uplift and relative sea-level changes in the Loviisa area, southeastern Finland, during the last 8000 years. Posiva Report 99-28, Posiva Oy, 26 pp.

    Articles in peer-reviewed scientific edited volumes and conference proceedings

    Alenius, T., Haggrén, G., Jansson, H. and Miettinen, A. 2010. Land colonization and desertion in the Archipelago of Uusimaa (Finland) in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era. Archeology and rural landscape: rural settlements in their natural, economical and social environment, Actions of the Convention Paris 2007, in press.

    Alenius, T., Haggrén, G., Jansson, H. and Miettinen, A. 2006. Maritime activities on the Southern Coast of Finland 500-1550 AD. Settlement history from the viewpoint of archaeology, history, biology and geology. In: Pieters, M., Verhaeghe, F. & Gevaert, G. (eds.) Fishery, Trade and Piracy. Fishermen and fishermen’s settlements in and around the North Sea area in the Middle Ages and later. I. Papers from the colloquium at Oostende-Raversijde, Belgium, 21-23 November 2003. Archeologie in Vlaanderen. Monografie 6. Vlaams Instituut voor het Onroerend Erfgoed (VIOE), Brussel. 207-213.

    Miettinen, A. 2000. Relative sea-level changes in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland during the last 8000 years. In: Avery, M. & Partridge, T. (eds.) INQUA abstracts - XV International Congress, Durban, South Africa, 3-11 August 1999. Quaternary International 63/64, p. 98.

    + 41 Published conference abstracts 1999–2014