Finland (University of Helsinki) The better we understand processes taking place in clouds, the more accurate weather forecasts we get

What are your research topics?

Rain, snow, hail, lightning – weather phenomena we all are familiar with. These phenomena are manifestations of processes that take place in clouds. My research group studies these processes.

Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact?

Weather affects our everyday life. Dangerous weather phenomena, such as hail, heavy rain or snow, have an immediate impact on our society as they may affect traffic, crops, individuals’ health and so on. Better data analysis techniques developed in my group are used to improve the detection and quantitative observation of these weather phenomena.

Furthermore, developments in understanding the processes within clouds lead to advances in atmospheric modeling and weather forecasts.

What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?

Two things: First, research in the area of ice and mixed-phase clouds is currently experiencing rapid development. Mixed clouds are especially of interest. In such clouds ice particles and supercooled liquid water droplets co-exist. The interaction between ice and liquid is rather complex, and currently not adequately captured by atmospheric models.

Second, cloud and precipitation measurement capabilities are continuously improving. The European research infrastructure ACTRIS (Aerosol, Clouds and Trace Gases Research Infrastructure), which the University of Helsinki is part of, provides cloud profiling observations across Europe. Next year, ESA will launch the EarthCARE (Cloud, Aerosol and Radiation Explorer) mission.

Both ACTRIS and EarthhCARE will improve our understanding of the role that clouds play in Earth’s energy budget and climate.