Rector of University of Helsinki discussed developing atmospheric and ecosystem research with Tartu researchers
On Monday, 18 April 2016, Rector of the University of Helsinki Professor Jukka Kola and Professor Markku Kulmala visited Tartu to make an interim report with leaders and researchers of the University of Tartu, Estonian University of Life Sciences and Tartu Observatory on cooperation in the framework of the Estonian research roadmap object “Estonian Environmental Observatory”.
The meeting focused on the further development of the Station for Measuring Ecosystem-Atmosphere Relations (SMEAR) in Järvselja and integrating it with Finland’s SMEAR network.
The cooperation resulted in the opening of the SMEAR tower in August 2015 in Järvselja, which gathers data on the mutual impacts of the living things in nature and the atmosphere. Researchers of the Estonian University of Life Sciences and UT use it to study what kind of compounds the plants emit in the forest and how they volatilise, effecting the formation of atmospheric aerosols and through these the weather and climate. They also study how atmospheric processes, meteorological conditions and the spread of pollution affect the vital functions of plants. One 130-metre tower and two 30-metre towers enable to measure the vertical profile of the concentration of matter (compound gases and aerosols in the atmosphere) and fluxes of energy and matter in the atmosphere and the forest’s biosphere. The tower, which is equipped with micrometeorological instrumentation at different heights, enables to study the state of the atmospheric boundary layer and its impact on the dynamic of the measured variables.
Long-term continuous measurement time series collected at the SMEAR field station help predict more accurately the changes in the state of the forest’s ecosystem and atmosphere in response to climate change. The gathered data can be used by students and researchers of different specialisations in their research, in addition to aerosol physicists and plant physiologists by meteorologists and researchers of atmospheric chemistry, soil and ecosystems.
Markku Tapio Kulmala is a world leader in atmospheric aerosol science. In 2008, the University of Tartu named Markku Tapio Kulmala honorary doctor for his services in creating terrestrial ecosystem meteorology as a new research field and integrating the University of Tartu in the cooperation network of European atmospheric research.
Head of UT Laboratory of Environmental Physics
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