IHY research at the Finnish Meteorological Institute

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The Space Research unit of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) designs and manufactures spaceborne instruments, has long traditions in auroral data acquisition and makes versatile basic research. The scientific interests of the unit includes topics like the Earth magnetosphere, northern lights, the atmosphere of planet Mars, the moon Titan of planet Saturn, and the dust and radiation in our solar system. Also the Earth Observation unit of FMI has together with the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory expanded its researh activities to cover IHY related topics by investigating the impacts of solar activity on the middle atmosphere chemistry (in the CHAMOS project).

The FMI space science projects are multi-national and based on continuous collaboration with the different space agencies (e.g. ESA, NASA, and Russian space organizations). FMI's space research unit has wide experience in building plasma and dust analyzers and meteorological probes and in the development of software for advanced data management systems. Examples of ESA and NASA missions with FMI participation are SOHO/SWAN, Cassini/Huygens, Mars and Venus Express, and Bebi Colombo.

FMI started the systematic auroral recordings during the International Geophysical Year in 1957-1958. The present successor of those IGY activities is the MIRACLE network of versatile ground-based auroral instrumentation ranging from Estonia to Svalbard. Space research using combined ground-based and satellite data are currently carried out especially within the framework of the ESA Cluster mission. The Earth Observation unit has utilized extensively the observations acquired by the atmospheric chemistry instruments onboard the ESA ENVISAT satellite.

FMI's endeavours in theoretical modelling include the only European global magnetohydrodynamic simulation code for the Earth's magnetosphere and hybrid simulation codes for the Mercury, Venus, and Mars plasma and neutral gas environments. The group has also done pioneering research in the development of time evolving magnetospheric magnetic field and ring current models.