EUCAARI to start worldwide atmospheric measurements

Work supported by global network of measuring stations and extra-sensitive measuring device.

EUCAARI Headed by Academy Professor Markku Kulmala, the international project on aerosol research is busy preparing to take global atmospheric measurements, which begin next year.

“For the first time, measurements will be taken across the whole of Europe, and in as many as 15 locations simultaneously,” says Kulmala.

“Fine particles play a significant role in climate change, so it is therefore important to know more about their formation, dynamics, and impact on air quality.”

The global network of measuring stations created this year will give EUCAARI researchers access to data from all over the world. This information will help reveal how air pollution drifts from the coastal areas to Central Europe, or from there to the Nordic countries, and other movements in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The project has also developed an extremely sensitive aerosol-measuring device, allowing for the reliable measurement of particles less than 3 nanometres across.

“Thanks to this new instrument,” says Kulmala, “we will be able to study how particles turn from gas to vapour. This information will increase predictability.”

Measuring stations have also been set up outside of Europe. According to Kulmala, South Africa, China, and India are important measuring sites due to air pollution. The station in Brazil, on the other hand, is in the rainforest region.

“We do not have any previous data from these areas. The stations will begin operating next year, and the collection of measurements taken from around the world will be well underway by March.”

In addition to the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Meteorological Institute plays a key role in running the stations and planning the support infrastructure.

The four-year EUCAARI research project, supported by the EU, will be completed in 2010. The project employs researchers from 25 different countries.

Text: Niina Viitanen

Translation: Valtasana Oy

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