ATM Newsletter Special Anniversary Edition


ATM Newsletter is celebrating it's 2nd Anniversary with a Special Edition compiling a selection of featured articles of its 2014-2016 trajectory. (Download link can be found on the last page)

ATM Newsletter

Division of Atmospheric Science

ATM Newsletter Nr.36. December 2016

Anniversary Special Edition 2014-2016

Dew Project:

clean water in arid areas

Juuso Tuure & Jonathan Duplissy

Marrakesh COP22

Tuukka Petäjä, p.9

Karsa Oy:

looking for talent

p.16 Indoor air quality in

traditional Kenyan

kitchens, childcare

facilities and beds

Brandon Boor, p.19

ATMNewsletter 1



4 Dew Project: Clean water in arid



8 FCoE in 2015 Paris Climate

Conference COP21 - “success is a


9 Update: Marrakesh COP22 by

Tuukka Petäjä

10 Pan-Eurasian Experiment (PEEX)

Program: future prospects


12 Is binary particle formation (and

the effect of ions on it) finally


14 Mining for nature’s data

17 Are boreal trees a source of

greenhouse gases?

18 Babies + carpet dust + VOCs

19 Update: Indoor air quality in

traditional Kenyan kitchens,

childcare facilities and beds


20 Field Notes: a campaign into the


21 Trekking to the Himalayas: a

Finland-India collaboration

22 Inside CERN: Hyytiälä in a chamber

and everyday life

23 Update note: CLOUD9 to CLOUD11

24 Letters from Antarctica

26 #ArandaSeaIce2016


27 Drones in research: learning the


28 Jaana Bäck on Ecosystem Processes

group, sharing knowledge, scientific

jargon, and interdisciplinarity

30 Science in film: Timo Vesala at

Sodankylä film festival

32 Ozone Diaries: A graphic novel on

science by a scientist

34 10 year old diary: Värrio


37 Celebrating 20 years: The Story of

SMEAR II in a song

38 Chatting with Hyytiälä station’s

Head Cook

39 Toasts, music and a farewell to Topi

40 Making the Front Page: a love of



16 KARSA Oy - Karsa is looking for


Editor-in-Chief Stephany B. Mazon

Cover photograph Ksenia Tabakova

Layout & Graphic design Stephany B. Mazon

Contents photograph Lauriane Quéléver

Contact, Division of Atmospheric Science, University of Helsinki.

All works in this publication remain the copyright of the authors, and can only be reproduced with their explicit consent. Texts written

by ‘Editor’ are written by Stephany B. Mazon.

2 ATMNewsletter

Editor’s Note

The first ATM Newsletter was timidly sent

out to ATM emails on November 2014 to

test new waters for our Division’s internal

communication. On this, its 36th issue, the

ATM Newsletter is celebrating its 2nd year

with a Special Anniversary Edition. This

issue compiles a selection of articles that have

featured in the newsletter throughout its 2 years’

trajectory. You’ll notice ‘Update’ notes, where

authors are letting us know how their work has

progressed up till now, November 2016, since

their last contribution.

Thank you to all who have contributed. And

thank you to all who read it and have made this

process most worthwhile. Happy Reading!

ATMNewsletter 3


Dew Project:

Clean water in arid areas

The Dew Project is a collaborative project together

with Viikki Campus and VTT, with the aim to develop

a material that will emit IR radiation during noncloudy

days, cooling quicker than its surroundings,

and enable water to condense on it and be collected.

The plan is to develop the material, test it

here in Finland, and eventually take drinking

water to countries like Kenya, Jordan,

and India.

Want to know more? See article: Vuollekoski, H et

al: “Estimates of global dew collection potential” Hydrol.

Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 11, 9519-9549, 2014

ATM Newsletter #2. 25.November.2014

Dew collection on the rooftop of Kumpula Campus


Exactly two years ago, Stephany ask me to explain for

the ATM newsletter what the dew project on-going

on the roof of physicum building was about. At that

time, every morning my biggest fear was to find out

if these large dew collectors were still attached to the

roof or if they had been blown away. After successful

tests (read there: clear sky during the night), the dew

project went to its second phase, with data collection

in arid countries. The challenging part was to

organise this data collection while sitting in my cosy

office in Helsinki. We have designed and performed

measurements in Jordania (thanks to Tarek Hussein)

and in Kenya (thanks to Matti Räsänen, Juusi

Tuure and Mikko Hautala). While in Jordania

the measurements are over (until next funding is

approved) and the paper is under review, in Kenya

the measurements are still on going. We employ local

people to maintain the dew collectors and collect the

data. Surprisingly for us, in such a project the more

4 ATMNewsletter

Text: Juuso Tuure & Jonathan Duplissy


you learn is from field measurements. Nothing goes

as it was foreseen from preliminary laboratory test.

Now the biggest fear is not only from the wind

potentially blowing off the dew collector, but rather

from unexpected elephants having too much


But see bellow, about Juuso writing about his

experience installing the dew collectors in Kenya.

Mikko Hautala and myself visited Taita Research

Center of University of Helsinki located in Taita Hills,

Kenya during 9-22.Feb.2016. During the visit an

experimental field was established on a corn field at

Mwadime Mjomba’s farm in Maktau, located 50 km

(2 hour drive) from the research station. Mwadime

is working as a foreman at the Taita Research Center.

Setting up the measurement field was tough due

to the scorching heat, but we got great help from

Mwadime and his family. Measurements at the

Photograph by Mikko Hautala

experimental field have been running ever since the

visit and dew collection, soil and weather data is still

acquired continuously.

The set-up at the experimental field consists of 10

dew collectors with 4 different surface materials

(OPUR, PE and PVC plastics) and 4 different (PE,

PVC and Biodegradable) plastic mulches installed

on soil. Different parameters, such as surface

temperature and air relative humidity are measured

continuously in order to evaluate the correlation of

these different variables with collected amount of

dew. Soil moisture and temperature data are acquired

below the plastic mulches and also from the soil at

various locations, in different depth layers in order

to evaluate the expected impact of dew on soil water

balance. Continuously acquired weather data is

provided by a weather station at the experimental

field. Also other research work is done at the same

location i.e. Eddy covariance measurement related to

another research project run by UHEL, Department

of Atmospheric Sciences/Department of Geosciences

(Matti Räsänen). It benefits the dew measurement

project by providing evapotranspiration data, which

is useful for making accurate estimates on the impact

of dew on the local water balance. Also other forms

of co-operation are done regarding exchange of

measurement results, data analysis and maintenance

and calibration of the measurement devices at the

experimental field.

So far we have been able to harvest water in Kenya

by using the planned equipment and materials.

According to brief results, dew provides a small

but reliable source of water during the dry season

at the experimental field in Maktau. It is possible

to determine and simulate the periods of dew

condensations based on the measured parameters.

The measurement results obtained in both laboratory

and field conditions indicated small differences

between the different dew collecting materials. These

results indicate that the commercially available

materials tested (PE- and PVC-plastics) are workable

for dew collecting purposes.

This week a symposium was held in Helsinki to

report the results of the project. Finnish ministers

Jaana Husu-Kallio and Paul Silfverberg were present

and they were also presenting their view on the topic.

Want to know more? Contact Jonathan Duplissy ;

Juuso Tuure, Tarek Husein or Markku Kulmala.

ATMNewsletter 5



Text courtesy of CoE ATM / Mai Allo

Finnish atmospheric scientists are well-known for their special

observational stations. The SMEAR stations serve basic research, but

in the future, they will probably be a worldwide business as well

S nce 1991, the Station for

Measuring Earth Surface-

Atmosphere Relations

(SMEAR) observational

stations established by a team of

Finnish atmospheric scientists

have been measuring the

atmosphere and its interlinking

with the Earth’s surface. The

measurement data has been

the cornerstone of the scientific

contributions the team has

made to atmospheric physics

and chemistry. The researchers

of the team have, for example,

revealed the molecular

mechanisms governing the

formation of atmospheric

aerosol particles.

The team mentioned above is,

of course, the Finnish Centre

of Excellence in Atmospheric


There are altogether 250

physicists, forest scientists,

chemists and other experts

working in the centre. They are

headed by physics professor

Markku Kulmala, the most cited

geoscientist in the world.

Besides basic research, Kulmala

and his team have established

two spin-off companies:

Airmodus Ltd. develops and

manufactures particle counters,

and Karsa Ltd. produces special


The success in academic

endeavour, or in small-scale

business, is not enough for

Kulmala and his team, however:

they now intend to enter

the world market with their

expertise in observational


“For example, we could plan

a whole measurement station

for the client on demand, offer

expertise to implement it, and

train the local staff to maintain

the station. Or we could


early-warning technology

and apparatus for industrial

parks. We also provide data

management, processing and

visualisation tools,” says Marjut

Kaukolehto, the research coordinator

in the Finnish Centre

of Excellence in Atmospheric


Equipment and installation

One single SMEAR

measurement station consists

of numerous measurement

devices, vehicles, apparatuses

and data processing meaning

it is integrated to function as

a unit. A station is, in other

words, like a laboratory

located in a forest or any

other ecosystem. It can

even be erected in an urban


In addition to the technology,

maintenance halls, power

supply, and shelter for the staff

and visitors are usually needed.

Up to now, Kulmala and his

team have established six


”From the point of view of the

potential client, the complete,

fully equipped SMEAR station

might be too much. This is why

we have developed smaller,

separate blocks, which are

different combinations of

technology and knowledge

tailored for varying needs,” says


Are the atmospheric scientists

now going to give up basic

research and turn to business?


As Kaukolehto puts it:

“Academia and business,

6 ATMNewsletter

Photograph by Lauriane Quéléver

although both having their own rules and drivers,

can be brought closer to each other. By co-operating

they can solve air quality and climate problems, and

promote clean technology.”

The implementation of the SMEAR concept

described above is probably facilitated by the fact that

the SMEAR stations are already quite well-known

worldwide. Kulmala and his team have published

dozens of papers in Nature and Science, and most

of the breakthroughs rest upon SMEAR technology.

Many people in industry also know Airmodus Ltd.,

which exports its counters to China, amongst other


The eventful and partly unbelievable history of the

SMEAR stations is much less known. They were

established partly as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear

catastrophe in the former Soviet Union in 1986.

“A blessing in disguise”

The exceptional story of SMEAR is revealed in

a book written by Mai Allo which will soon be

published by the Society of Finnish Literature. The

book is directed at the general public and explains

in a popular way what scientists do in the SMEAR

stations. It is also a fascinating success story of a few

exceptional individuals. Later, the book will probably

be translated into English.

“A blessing in disguise.” This is what physics

professor Markku Kulmala now says as he looks back

at the history of SMEAR. Kulmala was a physics

postgraduate and one of the very few young students

interested in atmosphere-ecosystem relations at

the end of the 1970s. With his senior colleague,

Pertti Hari, he started to apply the methods and

theories of physics and maths to forest research and

environmental issues. It was something unheard of in

those days.

But what, exactly, has the Chernobyl tragedy to do

with atmospheric scientists and their observational


“At the beginning of the 1980s, I started to cooperate

with Pertti Hari, who is both a physicist and

a forest scientist. With the help of an extraordinarily

talented blacksmith we succeeded in developing

instruments to measure, for example, the dynamics

of photosynthesis in a forest. But we were not

satisfied. We did not understand how our results

were connected to the atmosphere, nor did we

have enough data to draw conclusions,” remembers


The problem of insufficient data was solved

unexpectedly as the research material they needed

literally fell from the sky. It can by no means be called

a Godsend, however. It was the radioactive fallout

from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine at

the end of April in 1986.

Radiating samples

Soon after the explosion, Kulmala and Hari were

working day and night for several months to collect

samples of polluted soil, animals and buildings to

be analysed with a gamma spectrometer. During

the hectic period it came to their minds where the

shortcomings of their earlier research were, and how

to fill the gaps.

Hari, now professor emeritus, explains: “We

understood that it was the energy and material flows

which combine the different parts of the ecosystem

and the atmosphere. By capturing the flows we

could create a coherent, quantitative model of the

biosphere as a whole. This is still the basic function

of any SMEAR station.”

He adds: “The analysis of ‘Chernobyl’s footprint’ also

served as a test bed to our instruments, which turned

out to be excellent for the measurement of very small

contents of, say, trace gases.”

The rest of the story is well-known: Hari, Kulmala

and a small group of other researchers established

their first SMEAR station in Värriö, northern

Finland, in 1991, and their second, in 1995, in

Hyytiälä in southwestern Finland.

They did not only plan the station, but also worked

physically in a construction plant, with a shovel in

their hand. The extraordinary blacksmith, Toivo

Pohja, offered his technical talent and craftsmanship

to serve the scientists.

Now there are four stations in Finland, one in

China and one in Estonia, and the SMEAR concept

provides services and products to the private sector,


“It is sometimes argued that it is serendipity which

matters in science, but it is not true,” says Kulmala 30

years after Chernobyl.

“First, I really hope that a tragedy like that will never,

ever happen again. Second, I think any coincidence

in science is useless if a scientist is not prepared. He

must have been searching for something to see the

possibility behind coincidence.”


ATMNewsletter 7


FCoE in 2015 Paris Climate

Conference COP21 -

“success is a must”

Text by Jaana Bäck

ATM Newsletter #22. 14.December.2015

As part of Nordic Council of

Ministers and the Ministry of

the Environment in Finland

delegations, Jaana Bäck and

Tuukka Petäjä participated in

the beginning of the UNFCCC Climate conference,

COP21. The extremely important event took place in

Nov 30 – Dec 11, 2015 in the Le Bourget Exhibition

Centre in Paris, where the world leaders and their

expert delegations work hard for two weeks, to

reach an agreement on how the climate change

could be at least slowed down and how the dramatic

consequences could be mitigated. In addition to

the main negotiations, a huge variety of side events

related to for example climate change research,

policy and cultural issues are organized as well. In

one of the side events, Jaana presented a selection of

the latest results of the Nordic Centers of Excellence

CRAICC and DEFROST in a session organized by

Nordforsk Top-level Research Initiative on Climate

Change. Tuukka introduced the SMEAR concept in

a side event about integrated global infrastructures

‘Trust but Verify’, organized together with ICOS

ERIC, Univ of Helsinki, Lund Univ and Univ of

Bergen. Both events were organized in the Nordic


The atmosphere on the venue was excited and rather

optimistic on the two first days of the meeting. Due

to the recent terrorist attacks the safety measures

were really massive, and the venue was probably the

safest place in Europe. The official participants were

prepared for a hard work. The 195 countries had

prepared their opinions during endless meetings

already for several years, and now was the time

of final discussions, sharpening the messages and

compromising the critical issues. Nordic countries

were well visible and the Nordic Pavillion with

sheep fur -covered benches and beautiful forest

wall panels was attractive also to the safe guards

of the Turkish Pavillion located on the opposite

side of the passageway. The colorful and multicultural

participants surely give a good flavor to

the negotiations, and for example the neighboring

Pavillion of Peru was all the time entertaining the

passers-by with Native American music, dance

happenings and cheerful atmosphere.

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent

Fabius, who is the COP21 President, outlined in

his opening speech three conditions for success in

Paris: mobilizing heads of state and government;

bringing together and obtaining commitments from

nongovernmental actors; and reaching a universal,

ambitious climate agreement that is differentiated,

fair, lasting, dynamic, balanced, legally-binding and

ensures staying below 2°C. During the days we have

seen many steps towards an agreement, and at the

point of writing this we still have high hopes that

eventually the open questions are being resolved and

the leaders have maintained the high ambitions of

reaching even 1.5 °C level.

8 ATMNewsletter


Marrakesh COP22

17.November. 2016

Tuukka Petäjä took part on the COP22 meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, where he:

1. Participated in Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF) together with Climate

Leadership Council. SIF is a side event of COP22

2. Was a panel member in two discussion panels (Topics: Promoting green

innovation; Innovative approach for real-time monitoring of air pollution).

This was organized by Morroccon Universities. He promoted our spin-off

activities (Airmodus, Karsa and globalSMEAR.)

3. Discussed with the local university representatives and funding organizations

about establishing an atmospheric observatory in Morocco. This is a joint work

with WMO-GAW, ACTRIS and globalSMEAR, University of Helsinki, CNRS,

etc and local partners.

ATMNewsletter 9


Pan-Eurasian Experiment

(PEEX) Program: future


Text by Hanna Lappalainen

We initiated the Pan-Eurasian Experiment

(PEEX) program (

peex/) together with Finnish Meteorological

Institute, Moscow State University (MSU) and

AEROCOSMOS from 2012. In 2013 the

PEEX collaboration was expand to China and the

Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth

(RADI) and University of Nanjing were invited

to join the PEEX program and open the regional

PEEX Offices in China. The goal was set to solve

with comprehensive, continuous observations the

scientific questions that are specifically important

for the Arctic-boreal region in the coming years,

in particular the global climate change and its

consequences to nature and the Northern societies.

Novel ground based land-atmosphere data would

also serve as bases for constructing reliable early

warning systems (floods, forest fires, droughts),

predicting extreme weather events and estimating

the environmental contamination of industrial


The initiative has grown fast and at the moment

it is involving research communities from 20

different countries from Europe, Russian and

China. Altogether 80 institutes have contributed

to the PEEX Science Plan, which identifies the

program at large, introduces the research agenda,

the components of the future PEEX research

infrastructure, the topics relevant for impact

making and outreach activities

“Altogether 80 institutes

have contributed to the

PEEX Science Plan”

10 ATMNewsletter

The program structure, concept and the research

agenda including the key topics for the first five years

are described in the PEEX Science Plan.

For implementing the PEEX research agenda

we have opened the PEEX Special issue in the

Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics


special_issue265.html). The special issue serves

as a primary platform collecting PEEX relevant

scientific results for the periodic PEEX science

assessment. The Assessment(s) will be distributed to

different stakeholders and policy making processes

such as Arctic Council, IPCC, Future Earth and

the European, Russian and Chinese ministries.

Furthermore, PEEX has been actively promoted to

the Russian science community and aspects of the

PEEX research infrastructure development in Russia

have introduced by PEEX has also been proposed to

the central government of China as one of the key

projects in Silk Road Economic Zone initiative.

“The Assessment(s) will

be distributed to different

stakeholders and policy making

processes such as Arctic Council,

IPCC, Future Earth and the

European, Russian and Chinese


The 1st PEEX Science Conference was held on 10-

12.Feb.2015 in Helsinki, Finland. The conference

gathered ca 150 participants from Europe, Russia

and China including plenary speakers such as

Director General Pavel Kabat, IIASA. PEEX has

also established collaboration with the European,

Russian, Chinese and global partners to maximize

the impact of the becoming research highlights,

scientific assessment and research infrastructure

development in the climate policy relevant processes.

The key partners and stakeholders here are IIASA,

International Eurasian Academy of Sciences (IEAS);

Digital Earth, Future Earth, Arctic Council (SAON),


One of the concrete task of the PEEX is to establish

coordinated, coherent land based PEEX observation

network over Northern Eurasian region. The concept

of the hierarchical PEEX in situ station network is

based on know-how of the 20 year development of

the SMEAR-II flagship station measurement theory

and techniques. The backbone of the station network

is built on the existing biosphere (ecological) and

atmospheric observation networks in collaboration

with European, Russian, Chinese and global

partners. In practice this would mean the upgrading

and expanding the current measurement capacity

of the stations step by step with the new SMEARblocks

of instruments. The station upgrading and /

or establishing news stations would need national

investments of Russia and China.

PEEX continues expanding the stakeholder and

contact networks in 2017. Having new contacts with

the Northern American teams are one of the priority

areas. For example joint workshops on Arctic

measurements are to be organized in Hyytiälä in Feb,

6-9., 2017. The main event on 2017 will be the 3rd

PEEX Science Conference taking place in Moscow

on 19-21.September 2017. The conference is hosted

by Moscow State University.

ATMNewsletter 11


ATM Newsletter Nr.29. 13.May.2016

Is binary particle formation

(and the effect of ions on it)

finally understood?

Text by Jonathan Duplissy

Merikanto et al. (2016) and Duplissy et al. (2016)

are two companion papers recently published in

JGR atmosphere. The papers investigate new particle

formation in neutral and ion-induced binary sulfuric

acid-water systems, a long thought mechanism

of particle formation. They are companionThe

companion paperss as there are tackleing this

particle formation system from a theoretical and

experimental approach, respectivelyes.

In Merikanto et al. (2016), the authors have derived

a new version of Classical Nucleation Theory (CNT)

in which they use a quantum chemistry-normalized

form of CNT and extend the theoretical treatment

into the kinetic regime where particle formation

is no longer impeded by a free energy barrier.

The model is validated against the measurements

presented in Duplissy et al. (2016), obtained from the

CLOUD experiment at CERN. In these experiments,

four parameters have been varied to cover neutral

and ion-induced binary particle formation processes

throughout the all atmosphere: Sulfuric acid

concentration (1e5 to 1e8 molecules per cm-3),

relative humidity (10%- to 80%), temperature (208-

293K) and ion concentration (0-4000 ions per cm-3).

The key instrument of this study is the use of the

APi-TOF-MS, which can differentiate clusters

produced by pure binary processes, i.e., containing

only sulfuric acid and water, from clusters also

containing other molecular species. Previous studies

on binary particle formation were executed with

care and purported to address binary nucleation;,

however, most were, to some extent, burdened with

ppt level contamination by base impurities like

ammonia and amines arising from various sources

of the experimental setup. These impurities were

shown to be able to enhance dramatically the particle

formation rates. This would explained why these

“thought to be” binary experiments have reported so

high particle formation rates. In this present study,

even though not all trace gas contaminations could

be detected directly in the gas phase, the APi-TOF-

MS is sufficiently sensitive to determine if additional

species are participating in the initial cluster

formation (albeit with the limitation that it can only

measure charged molecular clusters). The quality

data measurements from the APi-TOF-MS make it

possible for the first time possible to report a particle

formation rate data base labelled “contaminant free”

or “true binary” for a wild range of atmospheric


Why are these papers important?

These They two papers provide, a) the most up to

date version of classical nucleation theory using

quantum calculation, b) -an extensive data base of

true binary nucleation, and c) a thorough description

of the CLOUD chamber. The authors show for the

first time a very good agreement between predicted

and measured particle formation rate (for hopefully

the good reason). This would end the persistent

mismatch between the theory and experimental

data, which hadve been causing big plenty scratching

of the head of from a generation of theorist and

experimentalist. As the theory agrees with the

data for the wild range of conditions studied, the

theoryit can therefore be used to generate a big

theoretical data set that can be parameterized. This

parameterization can then be used widely into

global modeling and improve our comprehension

of particle formation around the globe.

(Parameterization paper is about to be submitted).

12 ATMNewsletter

And outside of the office, what is the

implication for the atmosphere?

The authors’s results show for example that the

binary water-sulfuric acid system can produce strong

new particle formation in the free troposphere both

through barrier crossing (nucleation) and through

kinetic pathways. In the kinetic regime particle

formation rates become proportional to sulfuric acid

concentration to the second power in the neutral

system, or to the first power in the ion-induced

system. At cold stratospheric and upper free

tropospheric temperatures neutral formation

dominates the binary particle formation rates. At

mid-tropospheric temperatures the ion-induced

pathway becomes the dominant mechanism.

However, even the ion-induced binary mechanism

does not produce significant particle formation

in warm boundary layer conditions, as it requires

temperatures below or around ~0 ∘C to take place at

atmospheric conditions.

Furthermore, the authors show that binary formation

rates are very sensitive to relative humidity. The ioninduced

rates at 279K and sulfuric acid concentration

of 2x107 molecules per cc, for example, can be

effectively zero at 30% relative humidity, but take

place at close to ion pair production rate at 90%

relative humidity (Fig 2).

What’s next?

Well, so far binary nucleation has not been

observed in the real atmosphere, mainly because

measurements were done at ground level where

it is not expected to be observed (because of the

contaminants). So next would be to go to measure

new particle formation in the free troposphere and

stratosphere with an APi-TOF on board.

Figure 2: Dependence of ion-induced binary formation

rates on relative humidity

Figure 1. An illustration of CLOUD chamber at the CERN

PS. The de-focused pion beam exits a dipole magnet (right),

crosses the hodoscope counter (middle) and then traverses the

3m-diameter CLOUD chamber. Description of the CLOUD

chamber can be found in Duplissy et al (2016) and reference

therein. Briefly, the CLOUD chamber is a continuously stirred

tank reactor that can be exposed to a pion beam at intensities

covering the natural ion range concentration from ground

level to the stratosphere. Ultra-pure air supplying the chamber

is obtained from the evaporation of cryogenic liquid N2 and

liquid O2. Around the CLOUD chamber, a comprehensive suite

of instruments including state-of-the-art particle counters, size

spectrometers and mass spectrometers were used to detect the

forming particles and their precursors.

Figure 3: comparison between CLOUD data taken at 223 K,

50% RH and for neutral, GCR and GCR+beam (π)

Read the papers:

Duplissy, J., et al. (2016). J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 121,


Merikanto, J., et al. (2016). J. Geophys. Res. Atmos.

121, doi:10.1002/2015JD023538.

ATMNewsletter 13




Mining for nature’s data

Text courtesy of CoE ATM / Heikki Junninen

There has been a lot of media hype surrounding Big Data, but the

use of powerful data mining tools requires profound theoretical

expertise -at least when it comes to natural sciences

Is it true that Big Data makes a revolution both in

business and science? In many respects, yes. The

phrase ‘Big Data’ most often refers to data building

up in social media or electronic registers. When

people buy, sell and pay using the internet, they

leave behind digital footprints that can be utilised

by various business-makers: social scientists say that

sorting the data from You Tube might be a method

of predicting riots, Google can follow movements

of flu epidemics based on the analysis of searched

keywords, and so on.

Nature never tweets

Natural scientists do, of course, utilise Big Data,

as well. But in fields like physics, chemistry or

atmospheric sciences, data mining is a more

complicated tool to use than in business or social


One reason for this is that when it comes to Nature

- for example, the atmosphere - the data does not

flow into our computers by itself. The molecules of

the atmosphere do not gossip on Facebook, they do

not sign in to different registers, nor do they answer

polls. The same applies to practically all matters of

the physical universe.

The molecules of the atmosphere do

not gossip on Facebook, they do not

sign in to different registers, nor do

they answer polls.

To make Nature reveal something about itself, one

of the first things scientists have to do is construct

and install various items of equipment and apparatus

that can capture a physical phenomenon or certain

chemical reaction. The problem is that most often

there are no instruments to be used for novel basic

research - they have to be planned and designed by

the scientists themselves.

14 ATMNewsletter

What is even more, experiment settings cannot be

carried out randomly. The scientist always starts their

work by evaluating the existing theory: what are they

looking for and why?

First things first

Natural scientists do not even dream of data mining

before they have solid theoretical guidelines, installed

instruments in the field or in the laboratory, and

expertise to turn physical measurement signals, the

raw data, into analysable data.

This is exactly the way many atmospheric scientists

do their everyday work. Atmospheric sciences is an

‘umbrella field’ where physicists, chemists and forest

scientists co-operate. Some of them have special

skills in data mining, too.

Heikki Junninen, PhD, is a physicist working at the

University of Helsinki. He unravels the effects that

certain molecular processes have on cloud formation.

To find out how nanometre-sized particles in the

air behave and react with each other, he needs a

variety of special measurement apparatus, like mass


“I am a data miner, yes, but the most timeconsuming

part of my work is the substance -

developing, installing and running our instruments

in the field to make the actual experiments succeed;’

emphasises Junninen.

When the data finally flows in and Junninen

can concentrate on analysing it, he uses factor

analysis, where algorithms search for correlations

and causalities of a huge amount of data. He may

sometimes also resort to so-called ‘self-organising

maps’, which are algorithms developed to classify the


“Both are very powerful tools in atmospheric

sciences, and they will be utilised even more in the

future. But they can also be dangerous: if the scientist

does not know the substance theory of his research

area, algorithms and data methods might turn out

to be a ‘black box’ and end up in totally wrong


“To put this a bit differently, data mining tools are

often statistical models that learn from data without

teaching the user about the data. This feature is a

disadvantage when one wants to learn the system or

phenomenon being modelled;’ adds Junninen.

“if the scientist does not know

the substance theory of his

research area, algorithms and

data methods might turn out to

be a ‘black box’”

Observations from SMEAR-stations

Although Nature is not revealing its secrets as easily

as we humans do, atmospheric scientists are lucky

to have a lot of data at their disposal. This happy

situation is owed to the excellent observational

stations established in Finland, Estonia and China.

The observational stations are large complexes of

laboratories located in both forest and urban areas

measuring the material and energy flows between the

atmosphere and the rest of the ecosystem. The first

SMEAR-stations have been producing long term data

since 1991.

At the moment, atmospheric scientists plan to

establish several new observational stations in the

area of the Nordic Cap.

Sounds like Big Data is growing ever bigger for

future analysts.

p T




ATMNewsletter 15

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ATM Newsletter #27. 07.April.2016

Are boreal trees a source of

greenhouse gases?

Text by Mari Pihlatie. Edited: Elisa Halmeenmäki

Pinus sylvestris as a missing source of nitrous oxide and

methane in boreal forest

The question whether boreal trees can emit methane

(CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) has been puzzling us

for some years. Generally, boreal forests are considered

as sinks and peatlands as sources of the strong

greenhouse gas CH4, while both of these ecosystems

are considered as small sources of N2O. Recently,

upland vegetation has been found to emit CH4 to

the atmosphere from a hitherto unknown process. If

also upland trees produce considerably CH4, forest

ecosystems could change from a sink to a source

of CH4. With these questions, we started intensive

field measurements at SMEAR II Scots pine (Pinus

sylvestris) forest in Hyytiälä. Here we present our

first results from measurements in 2013 showing that

mature Scots pine trees can emit both N2O and CH4

from both stems and shoots under field conditions.

We also demonstrate that Scots pine trees can considerably

contribute to the N2O

and CH4 exchange in an upland

forest ecosystem. These are our

first results from METAFOR

project funded by Emil Aaltonen

Foundation (2014–2016) and

ExpeER TNA. We continue the

work within Academy Research

Fellow project METATREE (Seasonality

in the production, transport and emissions

of CH4 from trees in boreal forest ecosystems) in order

to quantify the role of trees in the CH4 exchange

between forest and the atmosphere, to understand

processes behind the emissions or uptake, and to

identify environmental factors controlling the CH4

and N2O dynamics.

For more information: Mari Pihlatie, mari.pihlatie@, +358 50 4602748

Machacova, K. et al. Pinus sylvestris as a missing

source of nitrous oxide and methane

in boreal forest. Sci. Rep. 6, 23410; doi: 10.1038/

srep23410 (2016).

Figure S1. Schematic illustration

of N2O and CH4 fluxes in soiltree-atmosphere


(extracted from Supplementary


ATMNewsletter 17


ATM Newsletter #2. 25.November.2014

Babies + carpet dust +


Text by Brandon Boor

Brandon Boor on the infant–aerosol experiment, his

work in Finland, and Europe–US scientific exchange.

My story in Finland began in fall 2011, when I

worked at the VTT Technical Research Centre

on infant exposure to VOC emissions from crib

mattresses. It was great experience, and I returned

last fall to Helsinki to work in Kaarle’s indoor aerosol

group. I just completed measurements looking at

how infants resuspend settled dust particles from

carpets as they crawl, using a mechanical robotic

crawling infant. This work was done in a large

environmental chamber at the Finnish Institute of

Occupational Health. I also visited Jordan over the

summer, to work with Tareq Hussein on mobile

aerosol measurements around Amman.

My office is in the Dynamicum. Fortunately, I have

received a few grants from the U.S. to fund my

research in Finland. Our indoor air group in Texas

has had visiting researchers from Finland, Denmark,

and Belgium, to help promote the cross-pollination

of ideas between Europe and US. I will likely wrap

up my dissertation next summer, and return to

Austin, Texas for my defense.

Here is a short video showing the increase in mass

concentrations as the robot (“infant”) begins to

crawl. (Video credit: Brandon Boor)

18 ATMNewsletter

Update: Indoor air quality in

traditional Kenyan kitchens,

childcare facilities, and beds


CNN talks to Brandon on how to achieve a healthy bed!

“I am presently an Assistant Professor at Purdue

University in Indiana, where my students and I do

research on indoor aerosols and human exposure to

air pollution.

My group is working on a

project in western Kenya to

evaluate indoor air pollution

in traditional Kenyan kitchens

and new “clean” kitchens that

have been designed and built by

groups of women from the Nandi


We are also studying the dynamics of bioaerosols

in a childcare facility, relating real-time bioaerosol

data to activity patterns of infants and children, and

using the Airmodus PSM/nCNC to measure sub-3

nm particles emitted from indoor sources, such as

gas stoves and household appliances. I also teach

courses on indoor air quality and architectural


Contact Brandon Boor at


twitter: @brandonboor

Images & video from:

ATMNewsletter 19


ATM Newsletter #1. November 2014

Field Notes: a campaign into

the Amazon!

Text & photograph by Daniela Wimmer.

Update 2016: Daniela is currently a grantee of the Autrian Science Fund. Her research is

in instrument development to study the growth and chemical composition of sub 3 nm

aerosol particles, by using a combination of a DMA and different ultrafince CPCs, with

different working liquids.

Project: GoAmazon2014/5 IOP2 (Green

ocean Amazon) the aim was to determine the

impact of the pollution plume from Manaus --the

nearest big city- on aerosol particles and the differences

between wet and dry seasons. I was especially

interested in new particle formation and I had an ion

spectrometer and an ultrafine CPC with me. Both

instruments can measure number size distributions

of aerosol particles smaller


Trekking to the Himalayas: a

Finland-India collaboration

Text by Arttu Jutila

Photographs by Niku Kivekäs

ATM Newsletter #18. 09.October.2015

The international expedition consisting of

researchers from the University of Helsinki (UH),

the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and The

Energy and Resources Institute in India (TERI)

investigated the effect of air pollution on melting of

the Sunderdhunga Glacier. The expedition set off

from Finland on September 12 and returned safe and

sound on September 30. The expedition was second

of three, and the last expedition is planned for 2016.

During the expedition the researchers of

FMI installed an automatic weather station

next to the glacier (4700 m asl) to collect

data year-round.

Also concentrations of particulate pollution were

measured along the way to the glacier and near the

glacier next to the weather station. On the glacier

more than 5000 m above sea level the team collected

snow samples, which will be used to quantify how

much particulate pollution is accumulated on the

glacier. The objective was to measure the properties

of the glacier surface layer and glacier dynamics.

Unfortunately, due to harsh conditions and

scheduling issues the amount of collected data was

limited. The data is nevertheless unique and it will be

analysed together with UH, FMI and TERI.

From Finland the expedition team flew to Delhi

and continued with a car to Mukteshwar (2100

m asl), where an air quality monitoring station

founded by FMI and TERI is situated. After the ongoing

reference measurements had been checked,

the team continued by car along twisty mountain

roads near the village of Khati (2200 m asl). The

journey to the Sunderdhunga Glacier continued on

foot with porters for approximately four days. The

trekking at high altitude was slow because the path

was rich in steep slopes which were slippery due to

rain. In places landslides had washed away the path

completely. The weather didn’t always favour the

expedition team: at base camp one tent eventually

collapsed due to wet snowfall during the night.

Usually the sun shined in the morning, which can be

seen from the stunning photos.

From the University of Helsinki, Division of

Atmospheric Sciences of the Department of Physics,

research assistant Arttu Jutila participated in the

expedition. The research project is funded by the

Academy of Finland.”

More information:

Professor Matti Leppäranta, matti.lepparanta@, 02941 51016

Research assistant Arttu Jutila, arttu.jutila@helsinki.

fi, 02941 51677

ATMNewsletter 21


ATM Newsletter #21. 27.November.2015

Inside CERN: Hyytiälä in a

chamber and everyday life

Text by Editor

The ‘shifters’ are waiting in room T11. It’s

6:50 a.m. as I cross the dark parking lot. I

can’t see them right now, but I know the

snowy peaks of the Alps are looming all

around me. I reach what looks like an old

warehouse with three separate doors, each

marked with the black and yellow radiation

warning. I choose the middle door, but it

won’t open. I fumble inside my coat to get

the dosimeter out and lean towards a little

machine. ‘Beep!’. A green light let’s me past

the sign that reads ‘Supervised controlled


CLOUD10 is the latest in a series of campaings taking

place inside CERN facilities. The original aim was to

study the involvement of galactic cosmic rays with

aerosols and clouds. This September, CLOUD10

prepared to simulate new particle formation under

Hyytiälä conditions. And before it comes to an

end, here is a sneak peak tour from inside CERN

CLOUD10 campaign.


It’s a 24/7 campaign. From the control room, T11,

next door to the enclosure hosting chamber, you have

remote access to most instruments. A morning shift

starts at 07:00am, and you arrive some 10 min early

to let the eager-to-sleep night shifters update you on

the status of the experiment runs and what needs

to be done soon. You take over until 15:00 with a

shift partner, alternating for lunch hour. At 15:00 the

next pair will take care of running the experiment

and monitoring the multiple screens with graphs

of organics concentrations, trace gases, particle

concentrations, ambient conditions, laser intensity,

etc. A whiteboard lists the Runplan for the next several


3 o’clock meetings

Everyday at 15:00 hrs we all gather in the meeting

room for a ‘shift run report’, where we cover from

updates of experiments, to presenting preliminary

results and discussing them. All members not present

have access via online streaming. I have to say despite

it can be a bit stressful to prepare a mini-presentation

everyday, this is a great moment to learn from others.

You are in a room with researchers from over 10

institutions, freely giving suggestions and questions

about the data.

Everyday life

While at CERN, you can live in one of the ‘hotel’

buildings (Fig.3). From my window I can see

reserachers discussing, walking head down going

over some unresolved problem, and going for jog.

The cafetaria is a rather fancy place, with buffet and

multiple menus to choose from during weekdays.

There are sections with ‘normal’ tables, and what

appears to be an annex with glass windows with a view

of the mountains. Rush hours get really busy, but in

between, you always find people here and there with a

coffee and their laptop.

CERN itself is a web of buildings, irregularly

numbered. Inside, it’s like a maze of long corridors,

one after another. You’ll pass open office doors, and

catch a French phrase here and there.

Before I leave CERN, I have to check my dosimeter

and see how much radiation I got. :) (Fig.6.)

22 ATMNewsletter


Update note:


Text by Lubna Dada


The CLOUD experiment carried out at CERN,

Geneva, brings about a collaboration between

new and experienced scientists, who come from

more than 20 institutes holding more than 30

different nationalities. The experimental stress

creates more bonds than just covalent or ionic, it is

more like lifetime friendships and multi-network

collaborations. Although it might be a bit tough

with 24-hour tracking of running


we are still able to have fun regardless. From the T11,

to the cafeteria, to the 3 o’clock meeting room, to

kitchen 39 we are scattered, yet sometimes gathered

(Figure 1). Some call it home, others call it hell. In

one word, I would call it ‘Bittersweet’.

From the CLOUD family: “Happy 2nd Year


Figure 1. Picture that sums up the life of the

scientist at cloud. (credit: Lubna Dada)

ATMNewsletter 23


Letters from


2.12.2014 Aboa Research Station, Antarctica.

Greetings from Antarctica.

On Friday, 29th Nov., we started our journey toward Aboa research

station at Queen Maud land, Antarctica. After reasonably long flight

via Munich we arrived to Cape Town on Saturday morning. The next

day we went for a field trip to see penguins and the Cape of Good

Hope. We also saw several wild ostriches, baboons, and other weird

animals on the way there.

On Monday, we went for an obligatory flight briefing at ALCI

(Antarctic Logistic Center International) after which Tuija climbed

on the Table Mountain with a few other team members. Meanwhile,

Mikko focused on dining. In the evening we had the last dinner

including some fresh vegetables with generous ALCI people, the

weather was supposed to be fair for flying to Novo runway the next


On Tuesday evening we were packed to Russian operated Iljushin IL-

76 cargo plane and headed south. We flew over night, and arrived on

Wednesday at 1:00 UTC in Novo Airbase, Antarctica. Light was so

unbelievable bright with the midnight sun reflecting from the infinite

glacier. At Novo, cargo was unloaded from Iljushin for the next flights

toward our final destination and we had an opportunity to sleep for an

hour or two. At 5:00, roughly half of our team including us two started

the next phase of our journey. This time we flew with Canadian pilotguys

in a Basler ski-plane, modified from over a 60 year old DC-3, to

the German research station Neumayer, since the plane would have

24 ATMNewsletter

needed to refuel anyway. However, the weather at Aboa, got bad, and

our pitstop was extended until Friday.

We used our time at Neumayer wisely by, for example, traveling 8

kilometers to the edge of the ice shelf on top of which Neymayer

station is standing. There we saw thousands of emperor penguins,

petrels, skuas, etc. Some penguins were also hanging around the

station, especially one chick was desperately trying to enter the station.

In the evenings we were playing pool and enjoying the good food,

well equipped bar (with free alcohol) and the hospitality of Germans.

Eventually, we were not very disappointed despite the unplanned


The sky got clear on Friday and we got a next Basler ride eventually to

glacier next to Aboa, a week after the departure from Finland. During

the day, two more Baslers flew the rest of our group and cargo here.

First day went in transporting cargo from “the airport” to the station,

cleaning up the snow, and making the station a proper place to live.

On Saturday we started unpacking our equipment and installations.

By Sunday we had more or less successfully installed NAIS, 2 PSM

systems, DMPS and APi-TOF. On Sunday afternoon, however, winds

started to blow. Hard. The next day we were recording average wind

speeds exceeding 34 m/s with maximum speeds reaching 42 m/s.

Snow was flying, visibility decreased to some twenty meters, it was

almost impossible to walk outside and even difficult to breath. Wind

has been blowing since then, making the station and especially our

measurement container to vibrate and swing like a ship. Today,

Tuesday 2nd Dec. average wind speeds have slightly decreased to 25-

30 m/s and are all the time getting calmer. Temperature outside stays

quite constant around -10oC. Maybe tomorrow we can continue

installations, and get the last instrument, CI-APi-TOF running. Maybe

tomorrow we can also get a first warm shower since last Wednesday.

So far so good, still sane

Mikko & Tuija

ATMNewsletter 25



ATM Newsletter Nr.26. 22.March.2016

Text & photograph by Arttu Jutila

Student Arttu Jutila (Cryosphere Group) was invited

to join the FMI Sea Ice Cruise on r/v Aranda from 29

February to 10 March 2016, lead by Head of Group

(Polar Oceanography and Sea Ice) Eero Rinne, FMI.

Arttu represented University of Helsinki among a

total 29 researchers from 7 different countries and 11

different institutes. He gives us the research cruise “in

a nutshell”:

“Aim: to research sea ice, especially

ridged/hummocked ice, to improve

sea ice forecast and winter navigation


“Methods: several ice stations in the Bay of Bothnia to

link measurements to data from satellites. Aranda is

equipped with numerous automatic instruments, such

as EM-31 measuring the height of the sea ice surface

and the thickness of sea ice with laser.

Additional aims: ship performance in different ice

conditions and water, quality in the Gulf of Finland, in

the Archipelago Sea, and in the Bothnian Sea.”

Have you seen the drilling of an ice core? Below, FMI shares some spectacular

footage of R/V Aranda fellow scientist at work. Click to watch FMI video (credit:

Tuomo Roine).

26 ATMNewsletter


Drones in research:

learning the basics

Text by Anna Nikandrova

Photograph taken by Phantom3 drone during the course

Laboratories, measurement stations, planes,

Zeppelin, satellites....we are using all these platforms

for our research. Is there anything missing? The

answer is yes. With the recent developments and

decrease in costs, Remotely Piloted Aircraft System

(RPAS), aka drones, became an accessible and

reliable option. A three day short and intensive

course about potential use of drones for the research

purposes was offered by a small group of the

University of Helsinki, that has already started to

utilize them in their studies and got some experience

to share. The course was held in Lammi Biological

Station, which is quite similar to Hyytiälä, and has

very good facilities for working. Participants were

divided in three groups, and during the first day my

group learnt all the basics about drones and how to

pilot them (Phantom drones). The most important

is, of course, constantly keep an eye on a battery and

bring the drone back home in time. One battery

lasts for 15-20 minutes. Even though they can be

charged very fast nowadays, you would always want

to have several extra with you in the field. Our task

for the second day was a 3D mapping of a small area

over the station. Several applications exists for this

task, and all of them automatic, of course, because

it’s near to impossible to keep a drone at constant

speed and height manually. To get precise location

we place black and white squares on the ground and

got their coordinates with GPS, and later we located

them on our maps. Our 3D maps included many

different objects: houses, trees, cars, people and small

meteorological station. It was interesting to see which

features were displayed properly and which had

some problems, like a missing house roof or a half

of a tree. We made several tests with different flight

and camera settings to find out what affects the map

quality the most. The next day we were working with

the data from the infrared camera. Unfortunately, the

weather (which is a crucial factor for a possibility to

use our drones) was not so good, so we did not do

flights ourselves. We worked with already existing

data and learned some applications, one of them is a

possibility to detect and monitor groundwater.

Future plans of the course participants were: to

monitor wildlife in Tanzania, to measure temperature

gradient with height in the urban environment,

to use drone with lidar for better imaging of trees

shapes, etc. May be soon we will also see a drone

with a light CPC in Hyytiälä?!

ATMNewsletter 27


ATM Newsletter #8. 11th March 2015

Jaana Bäck on Ecosystem

Processes group, sharing

knowledge, scientific jargon,

and interdisciplinarity

Interview by Editor

“They are very much

linked”, says Jaana Bäck. She is describing

the atmosphere–land processes, the effects of

composition, the recycling of chemistry in this

system. “This is the strength of our joint programs”,

she adds. To combine the Earth’s spheres in an

inclusive, holistic research team.

The Ecosystem Processes group began in the 1980s,

with the purpose to investigate the processes

influencing energy, carbon, water and nitrogen

fluxes. The aims have not changed, but methods

and instrumentations have advanced. Led by Pertti

Hari and his work on tree photosynthesis, a station

dedicated to the observation of ecosystem processes

was established in 1994, SMEAR II. The first, original

cottage can be seen to this day. It was there that the

first photosynthesis measurements were taken, and

SMEAR II continuous data began.

The Ecosystem Processes group has since expanded.

For the last 10 years it has grown to include

researchers from various fields including biologists,

environmentalists, limnologists, and physicists.

Concentrated in Viikki Campus, it currently

comprises 10 senior scientists and post-docs,

together with 18 PhD students.

Speaking the same language: “Terminology

should be interdisciplinary”

The ATM groups with immediate connection to the

Ecosystem Processes group are Micrometeorology

and Mass Spectrometry groups, in their work with

VOCs. The Soil group has a direct overlap, and

physically they are situated in Kumpula and Viikki


How hard is it to communicate within different

fields? and between two campuses? “It’s a learning

process all the time”, answers Jaana. We have been

28 ATMNewsletter

uilding a common platform for 20 years” that has

developed from sharing measurements, data, and

complimentary research.

“It is not easy to have two campuses and keep

updated on the goings-on within each research

group, but there are steps being taken towards

this, such as promoting seminars like the CoE

Science Forum, recreational activities, etc. There

are joint courses organized between Viikki and the

Micrometeorology and Mass Spec. groups that also

aim to link the campuses and research. “Everything is

linked”, explains Jaana, but she emphasizes the need

to find an efficient way to work with- and make the

most out of that link between our groups.

“We have been building a

common platform for 20

years” that has developed

from sharing measurements,

data, and complimentary


“Terminology should be clear”, she adds when

referring to how we communicate our own research

across groups. It won’t do to assume others will

understand terms or acronyms during seminars, so

one step to take is to remove the “scientific jargon

when you talk about what you do....Terminology

should be interdisciplinary”, she concludes.

International collaborations? Yes,

significant ones.

Outside the network of University of Helsinki,

the group has formed several collaborations with

foreign institutions, such as a project measuring the

spectrum of light sensing in plants, together with the

European Space Agency, University of Barcelona,

and University of Edinburgh. Volatile organic

compounds (VOCs) production is also jointly

researched with University of Tartu and University

of Barcelona. There is a geographical restriction in

measuring ecosystems in the boreal zone, of course,

in contrast to aerosol measurements which can be

done in any location of the world, points out Jaana

with a smile.

“Terminology should be

interdisciplinary”, she


A woman in science.

“This community is pretty open and balanced” in

terms of gender, replies Jaana when asked about

being a woman in her leadership position. She adds

we must recognize that a large fraction of females do

not progress to leading positions, but that there are

several factors at play in this, and acknowledges the

role and work from female colleagues, like Hanna

Vehkamäki in her mathematically focused group, in

dissipating this issue from our network.

An invitation.

Jaana reiterates the importance of sharing

knowledge, and the growth that comes as a result.

This seems to be the underlying theme she conveys

during our conversation: the opportunity of what we

have from the mere fact that we are such a large and

diverse group under a common umbrella, that we

could take on a multilayered environment and study

it under multidisciplinary scientific lenses, but that

we are only as strong as our ability –and our interest–

to communicate in a common language.

To end in a high tone, we are all cordially invited to

attend the Wine & Science Seminars, a space where

we can present and discuss any topic (including

preliminary results, or even proposal drafts) along

with a sip of wine and bite to eat.

ATMNewsletter 29

Science in film:

Timo Vesala at

Sodankylä film


ATM Newsletter Nr.32. 17.August.2016

Interview by Editor

Photographs by Santeri Happonen

At this year’s PEEX Science conference in Beijing, Timo Vesala had a

different oral talk. The lights went out and movie clips started rolling.

“From Vertigo to Blue Velvet: Associations on film and climate

change (Punaisesta kyyneleestä Sinisempään yöhön)” covered from

Hitchcock and Lynch, to Russian classics, to modern American tv

series: From dialogues directly referencing climate change, to a quiet

scene of an actor pondering over his own hand against the sunlight

and suspended dust to talk about ‘aerosols’. But this wasn’t the first

nor the last time Timo would present his interdisciplinary talk.

What started this interdisciplinary talk?

The Science Corner of University of Helsinki organizes a series of

popular talks open to the public. When Timo was invited to give a

talk, he had science slides ready but wanted something new. And so,

movies and science it was.

30 ATMNewsletter

Timo at the Sodankylä Film Festival 2016

It was the first time a talk like this was organized,

thanks to head of Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory

Esa Turunen and the Film Festival organizers who

wanted to discuss science fiction and space research

in a science seminar. Turunen was joined by Timo,

space physicist Sini Merikallio from FMI and contemporary

culture researcher Aino-Kaisa Koistinen

from Univ. Jyväskylä in a panel of 4 at the Town Hall

as part of the festival’s official program.

Old and young, locals and visitors crowded the audience.

The feedback was positive. People are aware of

climate change issues and those specific to Lapland,

reports Timo. They are happy to hear it straight from

the scientists. “We could do more talks for the general

public. We don’t do enough”, Timo reflects, but

an issue to address is how to broaden the group of

scientists that would be invited to such events.

And just how accurate is the science in movies?

Big budget science fiction movies can hire scientific

advisors. Even the old 50s, 60s films, maybe look

old fashioned now, but quite a lot of them utilized

experts and reflect the knowledge of that time, Timo


How about Sodankylä 2017?

As a visitor, yes, Timo confirms. The talk is not set

yet. But emails have been exchanged. On Timo’s

train ride back to Helsinki, Finnish film director and

visual artist Mika Taanila discussed a plan to address

the topic of nuclear power next, to which Timo coincidentally

had already put some thought. “Different

ways to make energy”, Timo explains. “I have 10 films

already listed”. Ecosystems, windmills, damns, “what

if I collect this and talk about energy production”.

Timo is nonetheless ambivalent as it is not his field of

expertise, but maybe the train meeting was a sign he

should go for it.

Other Film festivals?

Last November Timo took the stage of the

Dubrovnik in Helsinki’s film festival “Lens Politica”.

The venue serves as a restaurant-bar, so even if you

went for a beer, you could find yourself at a sciencein-film


Timo emanates knowledge and appreciation for both

science and film. So I think it can work both ways.

Not only does his talk expose the general public to

science, but it takes us scientists out of our comfort

zone and invites us to do the same with art. And by

doing so, we become multilingual, and communication

becomes more effective.

ATMNewsletter 31


Tero and Pentti interviewed at Kirjasto 10 during the Helsinki Comics Festival. Photograph by Joonas Kohonen

Ozone Diaries: A graphic novel

on science by a scientist

Text by Tero Mielonen

How was Ozone diaries born?

I’ve noticed that a lot of people are interested in

science but they don’t know what it is like to work in

science. There are lot of books and comics about the

really famous scientist but they don’t usually describe

how the actual work is done. So, I thought this topic

is something that hasn’t been covered yet but might

be interesting for the readers. I combined these work

related things with perceptions of working abroad

and mixed in some travelling to make the story more

interesting for a wider public.

I got the idea for the book in 2012 and I contacted

Pentti Otsamo, who is a professional illustrator, and

asked if he would be interested in illustrating the

book. I’m a big fan of Pentti’s work so I was really

happy when he replied yes. Then we wrote a few

funding proposals and were lucky enough to get

funded. We started to work on the book in 2013 and

at the end 2015 book was almost finished. Then we

contacted Ursa and they promised to publish it.

32 ATMNewsletter

ATM Newsletter Nr.34. 06.Oct.2016

How was the process to plan and sketch the


In practice, I wrote the story three times. First, I

wrote the dialogue for a chapter and then I sketched

the chapter with stick figures to see how the text fit

to each panel and how many panels go to each page.

Based on the sketch I would then write the official

script where I described how many panels are on

each page, what happens in each panel and what the

characters say/think. When I emailed the script to

Pentti, I would also include some reference pictures

to make life a little bit easier for him. Occasionally

Pentti would inform me that he had to make some

changes to the panels or that I would have to shorten

some dialogue because it wouldn’t fit on the panel.

So we were communicating at all stages during the

project. And when I saw the final pages they were

always looking better than I had hoped for. I was

really lucky to able to do this project with a seasoned

professional because he had a lot of good ideas how

to improve the story and make it more fluent. Also,

the people at Ursa helped a lot with the polishing of

the text.

Structuring the book: ‘flowchart’ or creative

instinctual process?

As a first step in the project I made a table of contents

for the book which means that I just listed

all the things I wanted include in the book. Then I

divided the things into different chapters and I had

a skeleton for the story. We made the book chapter

by chapter following the skeleton but there were also

some deviations. For example, we even decided to

add one additional chapter quite late in the process.

Audio material to go with the novel?

The only downside in comics is that they don’t

include sound. So, I thought that it would be fun to

make a soundtrack for the book. The idea is simply

that all the songs on the list are somehow linked

to the chapters of the book. Either the songs are

mentioned in the chapter or the artists come from

the same country where the chapter is located or

the themes are similar and so on. We just thought

that the soundtrack would bring a nice new

dimension to the story.

How do you think art can help in

science communication?

Science is typically thought to be

complicated, serious and boring. Art is more

relaxed, easier to approach and entertaining.

That’s why art is an excellent way to make

science more accessible. Usually, people don’t

want to understand everything, they just

want to know what is the main message and

art can be used to convey scientific messages

effectively. It is easier to remember a nice

picture or some lyrics than what some shabby

scientist said in the news.

I know quite many scientists who do art as

a hobby. They make music, illustrations or

write texts but I don’t know if they use their

hobbies to disseminate scientific information.

Probably not, because usually people have

hobbies so that they don’t have to think about

work related things all the time. Anyway, I

wouldn’t mind if there would be, for example,

scientific rock on the radio or if movie physics

would be realistic.

Where can we get a copy?

The book can be ordered directly from

Ursa (

otsonipaivakirjat/) or from other web

bookshops. In Helsinki, it’s available at

least from the excellent comic book shops

Kulkukatin poika and SS Libricon, and

Rosebud bookshop.

And have you presented it at a book

presentation anywhere?

There have been a couple of events where we have

presented the book to general public. For example,

last month we gave a presentation about scientific

graphic novels at the Kuopio Library and we were

interviewed at the Helsinki Comics Festival. There

have been a couple of interviews on the radio and for

a newspaper. On September 30th we participated in

the Researchers Night in Kuopio where we hosted

a comic strip workshop and afterwards we were

interviewed in a talk show as part of the program.

In the workshop people could come and make their

own comic strips.

Check out Ozone Diaries (Otsonipäiväkirjat)

Facebook or Ursa publishing for more info!

ATMNewsletter 33


ATM Newsletter #5, 28.January.2015

10 year old diary: Värrio

Text by Editor based on correspondance with Prof. Veli-Pohjonen

Värriön luontopäiväkirja - Värrio Nature Diary

“Sunday, August 07, 2005

Värriön tutkimusasema heräsi elokuisen

sunnuntain aamuna sankkaan

aamusumuun. Sääasema näytti ilman

suhteelliseksi kosteudeksi 99 prosenttia ja

lämpötilaksi 8.1 astetta. Aamusumu on

yhteydessä edelliseen päivän havaintoon:

koko lauantain ilma oli ajoittaisesta

auringonpaisteesta ja kohtalaisesta tuulesta

huolimatta niin kosteaa, että niin outamaan

kuin tunturinkin varvikko pisaroi vettä koko

päivän - kastellen kulkijan maastokengät


Värriö station woke up in the morning of August Sunday [2005] in the middle of thick morning fog. The climate

station showed figures for relative humidity and temperature 99 per cent and 8.1 degrees, respectively. The

morning fog is related to the moist weather of the previous day. Despite of sunshine and moderate wind, the

highland air was so moist that the grasses and herbs of forests and fells kept wet the whole day - wetting also the

shoes of the hiker.” // posted by Veli Pohjonen @ 09:05

34 ATMNewsletter

Photograph by Veli Pohjonen

It was coincidental that I was

introduced to this site, a blog

began by the former Director

Professor Veli Pohjonen and

Teuvo Hietajärvi of Värrio

Research Station (SMEAR I).

It is an archive of Värrio’s flora

and fauna captioned (frequently

enough in English too) with a

description of the biology or

ambient conditions; Sometimes

meteorological parameters are

reported, sometimes they become

a poem.

When I asked Prof. Pohjonen

what the initial purpose of the

Diary was, he explained: “The

Varrio Nature Diary was made

to be a diary, to report daily

about the nature of the special

Strict Nature Conservation

Area. Because Varrio is a strict

conservation area (you can not

enter the area without proper

permit) we also wanted to show to

local and other people what really

is inside the area and what we are


It is beautiful. It archives the

earliest photographs from July

2005, the latest, 2 weeks ago

(January 2015). It also isn’t

a secret. The blog boasts 1.2

million views during its 10 years

of presence. Already during its

beggining in 2005, it received over

2500 unique views; This year, it

has almost reached 5000. In the

years 2011-2012, its total page

views surpassed 200,000.

“Originally the idea was that the

summer students would have

written more to the diary, but

the blogspot is not any more so

popular. Apparently if we would

start the diary today, it would be

opened as a Facebook site”, Prof.

Pohjonen jokes.

The website is a virtual nature

trail that reminds those of us who

might be working with Värrio

Research Station data not only of

its source, but the real, tangible

reason of our work.

“Because Varrio is a strict conservation area

(you can not enter the area without proper

permit) we also wanted to show to local and

other people what really is inside the area and

what we are doing.”

“Friday, July 22, 2005

A few hundred meters north-west from the station, in the foothills of Kotovaara, is a deep (small) canyon,

the Devil´s canyon. At the bottom of the canyon there is a pond and a small creek flows away from the pond,

towards north, finally joining the Ylinuortti river. [...] These canyon, their bottoms, shores of the ponds and the

riverines of the creeks have their own flora, different from other forest and mountain flora of Varrio.”

// posted by Veli Pohjonen @ 06:10

ATMNewsletter 35

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pakkaspäivän laskenta / Snow line of frosty day (Teuvo Hietajärvi)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Pakkaspäivän tarinat / The stories of frosty day (Teuvo Hietajärvi)

36 ATMNewsletter


Celebrating 20 years: The

Story of SMEAR II in a song

ATM Newsletter #15. 20.August.2015

“The celebration of SMEAR II 20th anniversary took place in Hyytiälä on August 13th and saw the

participation of ~140 people. We learned about the past, present and future of SMEAR II, our cooperation

with Nanjing University and the connection between tea, trees and clouds. Other highly exciting activities

included boreal dinner by the lake, sauna and kota. Here’s to another 20 years of successful measurements at

SMEAR II” Text by: Misha Paramonov

We raise a glass of bubbly in honor of SMEAR II, and a vision towards a global network, and

share with you the SMEAR Song!

SMEARin Tarina (G-duurissa)

sanat: Jyri Makkonen 7.8.2015

sävel: Ewan MacColl (1949)

© Jyri Makkonen 2015

1. Vielä muistan sen, ajan muinaisen.

Kaasut mitattiin, kaljaa kitattiin.

Tsernobyl sen kai, onneks aikaan sai.

ajan muutoksen, vielä teemme sen!

2. Iiro Viinanen, Susi-Pulliainen,

rahat aikaan sai, SMEARin sunnuntai!

Polku kuoppainen, uuden leveyden,

askelmerkit näin – menestystä päin.

3. Uutta luomalla, tieteen tuomalla,

fotosynteesiin, aerosoleihiin.

Pepe mallinsi, Topi rakensi.

Markun mukana, vahva fysiikka.

4. Pienen hiukkasen, kuka löysi sen?

Klustereista hain, neutraaleita vain.

Partikkelia – artikkelia,

täynnä on työ tää, loppua ei nää.

5. Muutos ilmaston, liian totta on!

Maailma pelastuu, näinhän käy – eiks juu?

Kunhan lisää vaan, resursseja saan.

Neljään miljardiin, tyytyisimme niin.

Ref. Neljään miljardiin… (lausutaan selvästi): ja sitten olisi koossa

globaali SMEAR-mittausverkosto

”…tyytyisimme niin…” C – G – C-G

ATMNewsletter 37

ATM Newsletter #28. 28.April.2016

Chatting with Hyytiälä

station’s Head Cook

Interpreter Katrianne Lehtipalo, Text by Editor

Photograph by Lubna Dada

One of the highlights from every Winter and Fall

School in Hyytiälä are the meal breaks. Everyone new

to the course is surprised to hear they will be eating

approximately every 2 hours, and aplently. Just a

couple of days into the work-intensive week and you

start to feel a drowsy state between sitting in front

of a matlab code, and shuffling your feet a couple of

meters to sit in front a plate of food, or -my favouritea

home made sweet pastry and yet another cup of


And it is some special ladies behind the cafeteria

counter that are making our work smoother and

more enjoyable. We had a chance to sit down with

Head Cook of Hyytiälä SMEAR station. Jaana


When did you start working in SMEAR II?

“25 years ago, this June 2016”. Jaana was finishing

high-school when she heard of a position in the

Hyytiälä kitchen and applied for the job. It is a 42 km

journey from her home in Mämttä to work.

How has it changed in the past 25 years?

At the beginning it was only for University of

Helsinki use, Jaana explains. But then it got bigger,

and now it open to public events, like weddings! The

infrastucture remains the same.

What goes on inside the kitchen...

The kitchen currently staffs 2.5 cooks in the weekdays

and weekends, and 5 during the busy summer

months. The menus are decided by them: they plan a

weekly variation of meats like fish, beef and chicken,

and build the menu around that. They try to vary

it, but there are considerations to take into account

depending on the group they are catering for. Special

dietary needs can mean a person can only eat from a

specific list of ingredients.

Unless there is a tight time constraint, they bake

from scratch themselves. Those yummy warm

morning breads, or coffee treats.

As to the special occasions, Jaana’s favorites are the

outdoor nature events, like the Boreal Dinners, or

inside the Old Dinning Hall.

What does she think of us, ‘the scientists’?

Not a big difference, it is only more hectic during

Hyytiälä courses because of the meal times and

number of people. So we aren’t the only ones doing

long hours there...

To the entire kitchen

staff, thank you for the

care you put into our

food and all the pastries!

And if you want to get

married in Hyytiälä,

remember, Jaana and

her team can take

care of the dinning

arrangements all the

way to the cake.

38 ATMNewsletter


ATM Newsletter #1. November 2014

Toasts, music and a

farewell to Topi

Toivo Pohja (Topi) retirement party

This weekend marked Topi’s retirement party in

Hyytiälä forestry station after a career of almost 40

years. The Old Dinning Hall was the venue where

colleagues celebrated Topi’s work and friendship.

Speeches warmed the room, good music, memories

and photos of the past 40 yrs. It is evident that

Topi will remain a prominent figure in the history of

SMEAR II station. All the best to a new chapter in

Topi’s life!

“Topi is a true multi-talent, and music is one of his

passions. For the joy of themselves and the audience,

Hyytiälän Pelimannit was playing Finnish folk music

in his retirement party. Topi is one of the original

members of Hyytiälän pelimannit from 1977.”

Quote & photograph by Janne FJ Korhonen

ATMNewsletter 39


ATM Newsletter #25. 26.February.2016

Making the Front Page:

a love of photography

Text and photography by Ksenia Tabakova

Faust J. A., et al. (2016) Real-Time Detection of Arsenic

Cations from Ambient Air in Boreal Forest and

Lake Environments. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett., 2016,

3(2), 42–46.

This month’s issue of Environmental Science and

Technology Letters has a very familiar scene on its

front page: Hyytiälä.

The featured article by Jennifer Faust et al. presents

-for the very first time- observations of ambient air

arsenic ions detected with an API-ToF (atmosphericpressure

interface time-of-flight mass spectrometry)

in Hyytiälä Station, including above the beautiful

Kuivajärvi lake, a photo of which now serves as the

journal’s front page. And it is our own PhD student

Ksenia Atlaskina who is the woman behind the


I took the photo in Hyytiälä back in Autumn 2012

during the data analysis course which Jennifer Faust

also attended as a student. When the manuscript was

accepted for publication, Jennifer selected this image

to represent the content of the paper.

I have been doing photography since 2012. What

started as a ”point-and-click” activity gradually

transformed into a passion. Urban environment

inspires me most of all, because one can find many

interesting or weird places and objects in the city. It

is also full of lines, shades, shadows and combination

of them of different complexity. Such kind of space

allows to be dynamic and spontaneous, which is very

much my personality.

I like to shoot in black and white, and most of the

works published on my website are done with simple

50 mm lense. I have also fancier equipment, but

I believe that restrictions help to built vision and

improve composition. When you visit my web-site,

I recommend to look first through galleries Urban,

Weird, Textures and Things because these portfolios

are the most representative of me.”

Visit Ksenia’s photography website here: Visionista

40 ATMNewsletter

Photograph by Ksenia Tabakova

ATMNewsletter 41

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