Centre of Ex­cel­lence in At­mo­spheric Sci­ence

SMEAR-station

From Molecular and Biological processes to the Global Climate

The Center of Excellence originates in the early 1980’s, when atmospheric and forest scientists at the University of Helsinki created a multidisciplinary team and started to unravel questions related to biosphere-atmosphere interactions. Our objective is to measure all energy and material fluxes exchanged between the atmosphere and different ecosystems, and to understand the involved atmospheric and ecosystem processes. With this work we will reduce the scientific uncertainties related to climate change on a regional as well as a global scale. Forests influence climate change not only by absorbing CO2, but also by reflecting radiation and by producing volatile vapors, compounds that cannot be seen but you can smell them when walking in a forest. In atmosphere, these volatile vapors grow into small aerosol particles and enhance cloud formation. Aerosols and clouds increase the reflectance of solar radiation back to space and cool the temperature on Earth.

Our multidisciplinary research team includes 260 scientists working in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology and meteorology at the Universities of Helsinki and Eastern Finland (Kuopio), and at the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Our work is based on a network of field stations producing extensive long-term data on atmospheric properties and ecological mass fluxes in different types of environments and regions, including Arctic, boreal and tropical ecosystems, and on focused experiments and modeling aimed at understanding the observed patterns. 

For more information, see the Centre of Excellence in Atmospheric Science website or the Ecosystem Processes Research Group website.