Climate change, air quality, weather prediction, deforestation, urbanization, fresh water problems… These major global problems are all studied in the Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences, ATM-DP.

While the name of the programme refers only to the atmosphere, the research areas cover also the other Earth system components: biosphere, hydrosphere, soils and human activities. Interactions between these and the atmosphere are crucial for understanding the atmospheric phenomena. In order to enhance the research on these interactions, ATM-DP brings together doctoral students with different disciplines from three different faculties: Faculties of Science (Departments of Physics, Geosciences and Geography, and Chemistry), Agriculture and Forestry, and Biological and Environmental Sciences. ATM-DP is also a multi-methodological programme. The PhD students make research from basic science to research directly applicable for the decision makers, and from theoretical studies to improving measurement techniques and to modelling in size scales from molecular clusters to global Earth system.

One of the core areas of research within ATM-DP is aerosol particles, their formation, dynamics, and impacts on climate and air quality. Aerosol formation describes the formation of new particles from vapour molecules in the air as well as the condensation of vapours on the pre-existing particles. In principle this is a physical problem, for which the collisions, evaporations and the energies related to phase changes need to be solved. But there is a number of questions in the field of chemistry, which need to be answered in order to understand atmospheric aerosol formation: how the emitted trace gases and biogenic vapour molecules form condensable vapours in the atmosphere, how the molecules transform and react within the aerosol phase and how they can be detected? This is why chemistry is a vital part of research in ATM-DP. 

Several PhD students within ATM-DP, with chemistry as their background or major subject, have been participating in the latest breakthroughs in the understanding of atmospheric formation of highly oxidised vapours and molecular clusters.

This research has been conducted at the global level flagship stations, such as SMEAR II in Hyytiälä, in flow-tube and chamber experiments in Kumpula, as well as in chamber campaigns e.g. in CERN. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme allows the integration of these experimental results with the long-term observations of the atmosphere and other Earth system components, as well as with the modelling framework. And it is this integration, together with the strong national and international co-operation, that make ATM community one of the leading atmospheric research clusters in the world.

More information on ATM-DP and ATM research community:

Pauli Paasonen, ATM-DP coordinator, Division of Atmospheric Sciences,
Prof. Marja-Liisa Riekkola, ATM-DP steering group member, Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry,

Orginally published @ Chemistry News!