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Multi­discipli­nary & Innovative Courses


2017 – Introduction to modern atmospheric science I: A look into air quality in China


Division of Atmospheric Sciences/Department of Physics

Related Degree Programmes:

Master’s Degree Programme in Atmospheric Sciences





690-990 (+ Excursion expenses 190. Expenses cover travel expenses, accommodation at Hyytiälä and meals during the excursion) EUR Learn more




Taina Ruuskanen

Introduction to modern atmospheric science

Target students

The course is aimed for students with a bachelor’s degree from any field of science. No background in atmospheric science is required.

N.B. Students attending the course “Introduction to modern atmospheric science I: A look into air quality in China” at the Helsinki Summer School in August 2017 are eligible to apply to the Master’s Programme in Atmospheric Sciences based on their academic performance at Helsinki Summer School in the summer 2017.

Students who have submitted their application to Helsinki Summer School’s course “Introduction to modern atmospheric science I: A look into air quality in China” will be offered detailed information concerning the separate application process to the Master’s Degree Programme in Atmospheric Sciences later in the spring 2017.


What is good air quality and what determines the quality of the air that we breathe? This course on modern atmospheric science examines the key themes and processes affecting air quality from the vantage point of physics, chemistry, meteorology and policy-making. The course has a particular focus on China, where the megacities are facing new kinds of air quality problems. We will reflect both on local factors and on the history of air quality in Europe and the United States.

Learning objectives

Students are introduced to current research in atmospheric science with a focus on air quality and a view on the current situation in rapidly developing China. After the course the students will be able to define emissions using given emission and vehicle classes, connect the influence of weather fronts to air quality and predict if the forecast weather will lead to an improvement or decline in it. The students will be able to calculate global energy balance, use basic online remote sensing tools and tell how air quality index values are defined from measurements. The students will also learn how policy and other societal tools have been used and will learn to search for atmospheric information.

Course format and teaching methods

The course starts with an excursion to worlds’ leading atmospheric measurement site in Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station 9.-11.8.. The excursion expenses cover transportation, accommodation at Hyytiälä and meals during the excursion.

The course consists of lectures by Finnish and international experts, pre- and post-lecture assignments done individually and in small groups, supported exercise sessions, excursions to measurement stations and a workshop where the students will discuss and work on the core themes with the course teachers. The intensive field course format facilitates interactive discussions in class and exercise sessions as well as during unscheduled study time.

Means and criteria of assessment

Grading scale: 5 = excellent 4 = very good 3 = good 2 = average 1 = poor 0 = fail. Assessment is based on: • Participation during lectures, exercises and workshop (50%) and examination (50%).

The course comprises of lectures, learning in small groups and exercises and the assessment is based on final examination.

Course Schedule

Location: Kumpula Campus + Excursion to Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station

Monday August 7, 2017     Arrival in Helsinki

Tuesday August 8, 2017    HSS Opening ceremony & Welcome Party (afternoon)

Preliminary Course Schedule (pdf)

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