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Atmosphere and Climate

NASA image of Earth from space

Group leader: Dr Annika Seppälä

Earth’s atmosphere: the place we live, the air we breathe, our environment. The atmosphere is an integral part of our climate system and very sensitive to changes in energy inputs from the Sun and the near-Earth space. Our research group studies how changes in these inputs, particularly in the form of energetic charged particles, or the solar wind, change the chemical balance of the atmosphere and how these changes influence atmospheric wind and temperature patterns. These in turn feed into annual to decadal regional variations in polar and mid-latitude climate. Solar forcing into the climate is part of natural climate variability and of high interest as we are aiming to better understand how the Earth’s climate system will change in regional scale in the future with increasing greenhouse gas levels.

We use ground-based and satellite observations of the atmosphere and space together with atmospheric and climate modelling to better understand the processes that couple the chemical-dynamical changes resulting from solar and magnetospheric forcing to changes in regional climate. The investigation of Sun-climate connections is highly interdisciplinary involving for example space physics, magnetospheric physics, atmospheric physics, climatology, and meteorology. All of our work is done in collaboration with scientists from around the world and we take part in many international research programs. These include the SPARC/SOLARIS-HEPPA working group, a core project of the World Climate Research Programme, and the Scientific Committee on Solar Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP).

To find out more visit our Research Group website.