Focusing on impact of science on society - The first ACCC Impact Week was organized on 7-10 December 2021

During the first ACCC (Atmosphere Climate Competence Center) Impact Week we hosted series of talks and roundtable discussions bringing together the ACCC scientists and different society stakeholders who are interested in the practical solutions for climate change and air quality. The specific discussion themes focused on the carbon sink, agriculture lands and boreal forests, climate neutral cities and health, atmosphere-ecosystem measurement techniques and education.

The first day was dedicated to the memorial seminar of the Russian physicist Sergei Zilitinkevich. He passed away in February 2021 and his passing was a big loss for the atmospheric sciences community in Finland and internationally. He made a huge impact not only on his scientific field in developing meteorological theories, but also connecting people and facilitating international research collaboration in the USA, Europe and Russia.

On the next day, Markku Kulmala and Sami Paatero launched the new ACCC Innovation Forum. It aims to become the future ACCC platform for the co-creation and interaction between researchers and public / private  sector representatives. We also organized separate discussions in smaller groups with the stakeholders to boost the kick off of the new forum.  The third day was reserved for the Arctic science collaboration and discussios around the various aspects relevant for the future research agenda. On the last day, we focused on the opening the dialog between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Finland. Collaboration with NGOs is a new opening of the ACCC flagship. For the NGOs, ACCC can offer new climate education tools, especially in the frame of Climate University activities.

In addition to Finnish communities, the ACCC impact week joined together various international collaborators, especially those who have been active in task forces within the ACCC Impact Program, namely Pan-Eurasian Experiment Program, Global-Observatory, Science Diplomacy and Climate University. Two specific meetings were also organized. The International Eurasian Academy (IEAS) joint meeting (7th Dec) with the Europe, Russia and China headquarters and academicians and the GlobalObservatory meeting (8th Wed) with participants representing different observation networks such as the European research infrastructure (ICOS, ACTRIS, eLTER), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) –GAW, Black Sea SDG Observatory network and the Russian Carbon Polygon.

The original plan was to organize a face-to-face meeting at the Sofia Cultural Center in Vuosaari, Helsinki with remote connections. However, as we learnt, the COVID-19 situation in Finland and outside Finland, got worse during the autumn. So we ended up organizing the event mostly on-line. Apogee Ltd. was in charge of live streaming from the small broadcasting studio based at the Sofia Cultural Center. The speakers gave their presentations on-site, but most of the talks were given remotely, across time zones from the USA, Canada, Europe, Russia and China. In spite of the challenging  situation, we still had few on-site visitors from Estonia, Switzerland and Russia. Based on the Apogee Ltd. statics, 1,412 participants from 37 countries in Europe, Asia and North America followed our online event during the four days. The ACCC Impact Week was organized in collaboration with the Pan-Eurasian Experiment Program HQ-Helsinki, International Eurasian Academy of Sciences (IEAS), Sofia Cultural Center, Finnish Ecumenical Network (SEN) and Climate Leadership Coalition (CLC). The week was sponsored by the Wihuri Foundation and the Prince Albert Foundation in Monaco.

The selection of talks are available on the ACCC YouTube channel and the specific presentation files  by request, by e-mail to the accc-virtual-office(at)

Highlights of the ACCC Impact Week

On Tuesday, 7th December 2021, Prof. Bert Holtslag received the first Sergej Zilitinkevich award as a part of the Zilitinkevich memorial seminar programme. Holtslag is Emeritus Professor of Meteorology and former Chair of Meteorology and Air Quality Section at Wageningen University in the Netherlands (1999-2019). He has a large track record in the research and leadership of national and international projects and programs dealing with weather, air quality, climate process studies and modelling. His most notable contributions are related to understanding of atmosphere-land interactions, surface fluxes, and boundary layer processes, with implications to wind energy and urban meteorology. He is also known for co-chairing the GEWEX Atmospheric Boundary Layer Study (GABLS).

(Left to right: Academician Markku Kulmala, Awardee Bert Holtstag, Dr. Hanna Lappalainen)

The Sergej Zilitinkevich memorial award has been recently established by the Atmosphere and Climate Competence Center (ACCC), European Meteorological Society (EMS), Finnish Geophysical Society, Finnish Foundation for Aerosol Research (FAAR), International Eurasian Academy of Sciences (IEAS), National network  Institute for Atmospheric and Earth system research (INAR Finland) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO). With the reward, the institutes want to honour the research by the Russian physicists Sergej Zilitinkevich (1936-2021). The new Sergej Zilitinkevich Memorial award will be annually delivered to a creative scientist, who has made breakthroughs in atmospheric sciences or oceanography.  The Zilitinkevich memorial award acknowledges climate change, air quality research as fundamental assets in our route to find solution to grand global challenges.

The joint International Eurasian Academy of Sciences (IEAS) meeting between Europe, Russia and China headquarters was organized for the first time. All the headquarters introduced their recent activities and future plans. Also three new IEAS-Academicians) – Prof. Sylvain Joffre, Finnish Meteorological Institute (Finland), Prof. Vito Vitale, National Research Council of Italy, Institute for Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (Italy), and Prof. Vladimir Katanaev, University of Geneva (Switzerland) and the Far Eastern Federal University (Russia) – introduced their research.

On Wednesday, 8th December, we focused on the Green Transition and presented the new “ACCC Innovation Forum”. The aim of this new Forum is to detect, discuss and develop cooperation ideas with various partners. The Forum has several roles: It connects new stakeholders to the ACCC network; develops ideas from research to social, business and other innovations; facilitates concrete multi-stakeholder climate projects; enhances innovation processes related to atmospheric and climate sciences as well as promotes awareness of climate sciences in other fields of society and business.


Our key note talks included the results of the “recent IPCC AR6 with emphasis on land carbon sequestration” by Porf. Annalea Lohila, (University of Helsinki / Finnish Meteorological Institute) and the “Pathway to for reducing net emissions in Finland” given by Prof. Markku Ollikainen (University of Helsinki). In addition, we had a moderated discussion with the ACCC Finnish stakeholders representing academic networks, public and private sectors as well as civil society organizations.

International perspective was provided by the invited speakers; Minister Valery Falkov, The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation;  Minister Antti Kurvinen, Ministry of Education of Finland and Director Maria Cristina Russo, Global Approach & International Cooperation, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission.

The focus of the talks was on international research collaboration, targets of climate neutrality and, on the greenhouse gas monitoring systems, in particular. The Minister Valery Falkov highlighted Russia’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Russia has just launched a pilot project to establish Carbon Polygons and invites all interested countries and scientific organizations, including Finland, a long-term partner of Russia, to join this project to ensure the exchange of accumulated knowledge and experience ( The discussions on the future monitoring systems continued during the ACCC Global Observatory /Pan-Eurasian EXperiment (PEEX) online meeting, where new Russian Carbon Polygons, Black Sea SDG Observatory network were introduced in more detail. The Digital Belt and Road (DBAR) programme and Big Data issues were also addressed by the International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The second ”Arena for the gap analysis of the existing Arctic Science Co-Operations (AASCO)“ event was organized on Thursday 9th December.  AASCO is a two year project funded by the Prince Albert Foundation in Monaco. AASCO aims to integrate the research collaboration between ocean and terrestrial scientist and address the future research needs enhancing the in-depth understanding of the Arctic system; the land-atmosphere-ocean interaction and feedback.  AASCO is coordinated by the University of Helsinki and is an open research network to join.

HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Prof. Petteri Taalas, President Tarja Halonen, President of UArctic Lars Kullerud

In the event, AASCO process was acknowledged by the President Tarja Halonen;  Prince Albert II of Monaco; Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)  and Lars Kullerud, President of U-Arctic. Invited talks with new openings focusing on the indigenous people perspectives were provided by Prof. Trevor Bell U-Arctic Academic Award winner 2021 and PhD student Roberta Glenn U-Alaska.

The sustainable development of the Arctic regions under fast changing climate is built on science-based knowledge. During the last two years, AASCO has built a network of Arctic researchers focusing on the holistic process understanding of the Arctic and cold regions atmosphere – ocean – terrestrial ecosystems. The AASCO aims to unite this research gap and identify the future research needs in this context. The current AASCO research network gathers together ca. 100 arctic researchers. Furthermore, it is import to involve people living in the Arctic and the citizen science to the AASCO process. The next steps of the process for 2022 and beyond, will be planned in collaboration with the Prince Albert Foundation, U-Arctic and Arctic Council – Sustainable Arctic Observation Network (SAON).

Friday 10th December marked the fourth Sofia Earth Forum and brought together ecumenical approaches, decision-making perspectives and scientific research. The final day of the ACCC Impact Week focused on citizens’ engagement and civil society collaboration. The overall theme of the day was “safe climate”, partly drawn for the ACCC slogan safe climate and clean air. Speakers of the first session included Metropolitan Ambrosius (Orthodox Church of Finland); Archbishop Tapio Luoma (The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland); Juhani Damski (Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment of Finland); Anita Lehikoinen (Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Education of Finland); Kimmo Tiilikainen (Director General of the Geological Survey of Finland) and Prof. Markku Kulmala, (ACCC Director Academician).

Friday’s final session, a panel discussion on civil society, research and climate safety, was one of ACCC’s first public steps to create stronger collaboration with civil society actors such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and humanitarian actors. The panel joined together climate and sustainability experts and Finnish NGO representatives, including Saara Kankaanrinta (BSAG); Ada Segerstam (The Guides and Scouts of Finland); Taneli Saari (Ympäristöahdistuksen Mieli, Tunne ry); Heta Heiskanen (Finnish Ministry of the Environment); Sami Pirkkala (Finnish General Secretariat on Sustainable Development, Prime Minister’s Office) and Karoliina Pilli-Sihvola (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry). The planning and co-designing of socially impactful activities will continue in 2022 with the aim to strengthen the link and engagement between research and stakeholders in the society. 

Text by Docent Hanna Lappalainen, ACCC Impact Coordinator, INAR, University of Helsinki

ACCC Impact Week Organization Committee:

ACCC directors: Markku Kulmala, Jaana Bäck, Ari Laaksonen, Miikka Dal Maso, Anneli Virtanen; Organizing team: Hanna Lappalainen, Rosa Rantanen, Stephany Mazon, Alla Borisova, Silja Häme, Tero Siili, Sampsa Matikainen, Oskari Kangasniemi, Santtu Mikkonen, Anna Lintunen, Alexander Mahura, Anneli Pauli; Technical team: Otso Peräkylä, Anton Rusanen, Mikko Kulmala