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A moving lab for atmospheric research was set up at Hyytiälä, Finland

A moving laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art instruments for atmospheric research has been sent to Hyytil by the U.S. Department of Energy. An equivalent system has simultaneously been implemented in the Amazonian rain forests, for collecting comparison data. The scientific goal of the research is to unravel the effect of biogenic aerosols on the formation process of clouds and climate, and finally on climate change.

Together with their Finnish colleagues, the visiting U.S. researchers and technicians have set up a camp filled with spectrometers, radars and other analysis instruments as well as maintenance containers for the equipment. The moving laboratory with an onsite technician and the visiting researchers will stay in Hyytil for more than six months.

This Finnish-European-American joint effort was initiated by Tuukka Petj, a Professor of the Physics Department at the University of Helsinki. He describes his mission: "The effect of atmospheric aerosols on clouds and the climate is not known profoundly enough. It is an interesting question of fundamental physics, but the answer may help in understanding which effects of the climate are anthropogenic and which are not."

"We are also going to measure the microphysical processes of snow. The significance of these processes on global water resources can not be overestimated."

The acronym of the multinational project is BAECC, Biogenic Aerosols Effects on Clouds and Climate. The U.S. Deparment of Energy is not the only U.S. partner: NASA's Ground Validation Unit will also participate, and Aerodyne Research and Colorado State University have additionally joined the project. Several European research institutes are involved as well.

The equipment and data of the moving laboratory will complement the long-term data collected at the Hyytil observational station SMEAR II (Station for Measuring Ecosystem Atmospheric since Relations), where the biosphere, atmosphere and their interconnections have been measured 24/7 since 1996.

Currently the moving laboratory has been put into operation. During the course of the spring some active measurement periods will be implemented as scientists unravel e.g. the growth process of snowflakes. The laboratory equipment is to be complemented as well: until now, there are earth surface observation and remote sensing instruments from the U.S., among other things.


Contact: Mai Allo
University of Helsinki

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