Finnish climate researchers are planning a new observation station in China, possibly in the Beijing region. The project will be conducted in cooperation with local research groups from the ground up.
The University of Helsinki is also preparing an air quality education programme for the Chinese. If realised, it would impact the lives of millions.
“We cannot solve the air quality problems in China, but we can offer concrete help to find the solutions,” says Markku Kulmala, Academy of Finland Professor.
Kulmala directs the Division of Atmospheric Sciences at the Department of Physics, which has been involved in Chinese projects for years. Peking University has been its partner since 2006.
It is vitally important to understand the basic factors of better air quality.
“Once the causes and effects of poor air quality have been determined, we can choose the right measures to take to improve the situation.”
Poor air quality kills
The intended observation station is a comprehensive laboratory which will be able to measure the climate's interaction with the soil and plants in addition to air quality. This provides more detailed information on climate physics and chemistry.
Kulmala’s research group has previously participated in the construction of similar, so-called SMEAR stations in Nanjing, China and elsewhere. There are five SMEAR stations in Finland.
Cooperation between the two universities is now motivated by an especially urgent need.
“Every year, harmful particulates cause the death of more than two million people in China," says Kulmala.
If a SMEAR station can be constructed in Beijing, a number of Finnish companies will participate in the project, including Vaisala, Pegasor, Tikkurila and Airmodus. The construction project would thus mean export of both expertise and equipment to China.
Learning and Law
Kulmala is one of the University of Helsinki delegates to organise the Science in Dialogue event in Beijing on Thursday, 26 November. This event is part of the Pure Finland campaign, intended to promote Finland in China.
During the Science in Dialogue event, Finnish and Chinese researchers will speak about air quality, climate research and future learning as well as about the role of the legal system in a developing society.
The University of Helsinki and Peking University want to encourage research cooperation and doctoral education in these fields with an agreement to be signed in Beijing. Delegates from the University of Helsinki include Rector Jukka Kola and professors Hannele Niemi representing pedagogy and Kimmo Nuotio representing jurisprudence.