Society urgently needs experts with a multidisciplinary education in atmospheric and Earth System sciences. Climate change and issues of air quality and extreme weather are matters of global concern, but which are inadequately understood from the scientific point of view. Not only must further research be done, but industry and business also need environmental specialists with a strong background in natural sciences. As new regulations and European Union directives are adopted in practice, people with knowledge of recent scientific research are required.
Upon graduating from the Programme you will have competence in:
-Applying experimental, computational and statistical methods to obtain and analyse atmospheric and environmental data.
-Knowledge applicable to solving global challenges such as climate change, air pollution, deforestation and issues related to water resources and eutrophication.
-Making systematic and innovative use of investigation or experimentation to discover new knowledge.
-Reporting results in a clear and logical manner.
The University of Helsinki will introduce annual tuition fees to foreign-language Master’s programmes starting on August 1, 2017 or later. The fee ranges from 13 000-18 000 euros. Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area, are liable to these fees. You can check this FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees: https://studyinfo.fi/wp2/en/higher-education/higher-education-institutions-will-introduce-tuition-fees-in-autumn-2017/am-i-required-to-pay-tuition-fees/
The six study lines are as follows:
Aerosol particles are tiny liquid or solid particles floating in the air. Aerosol physics is essential for our understanding of air quality, climate change and production of nanomaterials. Aerosol scientists investigate a large variety of phenomena associated with atmospheric aerosol particles and related gas-to-particle conversion using constantly improving experimental, theoretical, model-based and data analysis methods. As a graduate of this line you will be an expert in the most recent theoretical concepts, measurement techniques and computational methods applied in aerosol research.
Geophysics of the Hydrosphere
Hydrospheric geophysics studies water in all of its forms using physical methods. It includes hydrology, cryology, and physical oceanography. Hydrology includes the study of surface waters such as lakes and rivers, global and local hydrological cycles as well as water resources and geohydrology, the study of groundwater. Cryology focuses on snow and ice phenomena including glacier mass balance and dynamics, sea ice physics, snow cover effects and ground frost. Physical oceanography covers saline water bodies, focusing on describing their dynamics, both large scale circulation and water masses, and local phenomena such as surface waves, upwelling, tides, and ocean acoustics. Scientists study the hydrosphere through field measurements, large and small scale modelling, and formulating mathematical descriptions of the processes.
Meteorology is the physics of the atmosphere. Its best-known application is weather forecasting, but meteorological knowledge is also essential for understanding, predicting and mitigating climate change. Meteorologists study atmospheric phenomena across a wide range of space and time scales using theory, model simulations and observations. The field of meteorology is a forerunner in computing: the development of chaos theory, for example, was triggered by the unexpected behaviour of a meteorological computer model. Meteorology in ATM-MP is further divided into dynamic meteorology and biometeorology. Dynamic meteorology is about large-scale atmospheric dynamics, modelling and observation techniques, whereas biometeorology focuses on interactions between the atmosphere and the underlying surface by combining observations and modelling to study the flows of greenhouse gases and energy with links to biogeochemical cycles, for example. As a graduate of the meteorology line, you will be an expert in atmospheric phenomena who can produce valuable new information and share your knowledge.
Biogeochemistry studies the processes involved in cycling of elements in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems by integrating physics, meteorology, geophysics, chemistry, geology and biology. Besides natural ecosystems, it also studies systems altered by human activity such as forests under different management regimes, drained peatlands, lakes loaded by excess nutrients and urban environments. The most important elements and substances studied are carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, water and phosphorus, which are vital for ecosystem functioning and processes such as photosynthesis. Biogeochemistry often focuses on the interphases of scientific disciplines and by doing so, it also combines different research methods. It treats ecosystems as open entities which are closely connected to the atmosphere and lithosphere. You will thus get versatile training in environmental issues and research techniques. As a graduate of this line you will be an expert in the functioning of ecosystems and the interactions between ecosystems and the atmosphere/hydrosphere/lithosphere in the context of global change. You will have knowledge applicable for solving global challenges such as climate change, air pollution, deforestation and issues related to water resources and eutrophication.
Remote sensing allows the collection of information about the atmosphere, oceans and land surfaces. Various techniques are applied for monitoring the state and dynamics of the Earth system from the ground, aircraft or satellites. While Lidar and radar scan from the surface or mounted on aircraft, instruments on polar orbiting or geostationary satellites permit measurements worldwide. In atmospheric sciences remote sensing has found numerous applications such as observations of greenhouse and other trace gases, aerosols, water vapour, clouds and precipitation, as well as surface observations, for example of vegetation, fire activity, snow cover, sea ice and oceanic parameters such as phytoplankton. Synergistic satellite data analysis enables the study of important processes and feedback in the climate system. Remote sensing advances climate research, weather forecasting, air quality studies, aviation safety and the renewable energy industry. As a graduate of the remote sensing line you will have broad expertise in the operational principles of remote sensing instruments as well as methods of data collection, analysis and interpretation.
Atmospheric Chemistry and Analysis
Atmospheric chemistry studies the composition and reactions of the molecules that make up the atmosphere, including atmospheric trace constituents and their role in chemical, geological and biological processes, including human influence. The low concentrations and high reactivity of these trace molecules place stringent requirements on the measurement and modelling methods used to study them. Analytical chemistry is the science of obtaining, processing, and communicating information about the composition and structure of matter and plays an essential role in the development of science. Environmental analysis consists of the most recent procedures for sampling, sample preparation and sample analysis and learning how to choose the best analytical methods for different environmental samples. Physical atmospheric chemistry studies focus on the reaction types and reaction mechanisms occurring in the atmosphere, with emphasis on reaction kinetics, thermodynamics and modelling methods. As a graduate of this line you will have understanding of the chemical processes of the atmosphere and the latest environmental analytical methods, so you will have vital skills for environmental research.
The basic degree in the Programme is the Master of Science (MSc). The scope of the degree is 120 credits (ECTS). As a prerequisite you will need to have a relevant Bachelor’s degree. The possible major subjects are Physics, Meteorology, Geophysics, Chemistry, and Forest Ecology. The programme is designed to be completed in two years. Studies in ATM-MP consist of various courses and project work: lecture courses, seminars, laboratory work and intensive courses.
Your first year of studies will consist mainly of lecture courses. During the second year, you must also participate in the seminar course and give a presentation yourself. There is also a project course, which may contain laboratory work, data analysis, or theoretical or model studies. You will have to prepare a short, written report of the project. There are also several summer and winter schools as well as field courses for students in the Programme. Many of the courses take place at the Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station in Southern Finland. The intensive courses typically last 5–12 days and include a concise daily programme with lectures, exercises and group work.
There is a global need for experts with multidisciplinary education in atmospheric and environmental issues. Governmental environmental agencies need people who are able to interpret new scientific results as a basis for future legislation. Industry, transportation and businesses need to be able to adapt to new regulations.
As a Master of Science graduating from the Programme you will have a strong background of working with environmental issues. You will have the ability to find innovative solutions to complex problems in the field of environmental sciences, climate change and weather forecasting. Graduates of the Programme have found employment in Meteorological Institutes and Environmental Administration in Finland and other countries, companies manufacturing instrumentation for atmospheric and environmental measurements and analysis, and consultancy companies. The Master's degree in ATM-MP also gives you a good background if you intend to proceed to doctoral level studies.
The Programme offers an international study environment with more than 30% of the students and teaching staff coming from abroad.
The ATM-MP is part of a Nordic Nordplus network in Atmosphere-Biosphere Studies, which gives you good opportunities to take courses currently in fourteen Nordic and Baltic universities. There are also several Erasmus agreements with European universities. The PanEurasian Experiment (PEEX) project provides you with opportunities to carry out part of your studies especially in China and Russia.
All the units teaching in the Programme belong to the National Centre of Excellence (FCoE) in Atmospheric Science – From Molecular and Biological processes to the Global Climate (ATM), which is a multidisciplinary team of the Departments of Physics, Forest Sciences and Chemistry at the University of Helsinki, the Department of Applied Physics at the University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio) and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
The main objective of FCoE ATM is to quantify the feedbacks between the atmosphere and biosphere in a changing climate. The main focus of the research is on investigating the following topics:
1. Understanding the climatic feedbacks and forcing mechanisms related to aerosols, clouds, precipitation and biogeochemical cycles.
2. Developing, refining and utilising the newest measurement and modelling techniques, from quantum chemistry to observations and models of global earth systems.
3. Creating a comprehensive understanding of the role of atmospheric clusters and aerosol particles in regional and global biogeochemical cycles of water, carbon, sulphur, nitrogen and their linkages to atmospheric chemistry.
4. Integrating the results in the context of understanding regional and global Earth systems.
In addition to the research focus of FCoE, current research in hydrospheric geophysics at Helsinki University has an emphasis on cryology, with a focus on the effect of aerosols on Indian glaciers, the impact of climate change on the Arctic environment, the dynamics of the Austfonna ice cap in Svalbard, and the winter season in the coastal zone of the Baltic Sea.