Aerosols, Climate Change and Human Health

Atmospheric aerosols play a central role in the processes related to climate change and in air quality, which affects human health. Aerosols affect the Earth's radiation balance directly, by reflecting solar radiation, as well as indirectly, by affecting cloudiness and cloud properties. The amount and properties of atmospheric aerosols are primarily determined by their natural (forests, oceans, etc.) and anthropogenic (e.g. combustion processes) sources and changes in those sources. One globally important challenge is the effect of aerosol particles on air quality, and hence on human health and well-being.

By investigating which of the aerosol properties and processes are key to their climate and health effects, it will be possible to further specify international agreements on emissions in the future, and to explore increasingly efficient regulatory models at various levels of government.

The key research topics of the research area are: the development of aerosol characterisation techniques, the effect of particle properties on their growth and capability to act as cloud condensation nuclei, the connections between particle chemical composition, toxicology and health effects, the development of climate models in cooperation with other groups involved in the Centre of Excellence in Atmospheric Science, and the interplay between climate change law, climate change and human health.

Professors in charge: Professor Kari Lehtinen