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




600-900 (+ excursion expenses 190 €) EUR




Taina Ruuskanen

Target students

The course is aimed for students with a bachelor’s degree from any field of natural science. No background in atmospheric science is required. It is recommended that the students have basic knowledge of thermophysics on the level of Basics of thermophysics (University of Helsinki code 530286).


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%).

Program taught in:
  • English

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
11 days
600 EUR
600-900 (+ excursion expenses 190 €) EUR
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