• This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement ID: 717022).

Project description

We are changing the composition of Earth’s atmosphere, with profound consequences for the environment and our wellbeing. Tiny aerosol particles are globally responsible for much of the health effects and mortality related to air pollution and play key roles in regulating Earth’s climate via their critical influence on both radiation balance and cloud formation. Every single cloud droplet has been nucleated on the surface of an aerosol particle. Aerosols and droplets provide the media for condensed-phase chemistry in the atmosphere, but large gaps remain in our understanding of their formation, transformations, and climate interactions. Surface properties may play crucial roles in these processes, but currently next to nothing is known about the surfaces of atmospheric aerosols and cloud droplets and their impacts are almost entirely unconstrained.

Recent work by the grantee strongly suggests that aerosol surfaces are significantly different from their associated bulk material and that these unique properties can impact aerosol processes all the way to the global scale. Very few surface-specific properties are currently considered when evaluating aerosol effects on atmospheric chemistry and global climate. Novel developments of cutting-edge computational and experimental methods, in particular synchrotron-based photoelectron spectroscopy, now for the first time makes direct molecular-level characterizations of atmospheric surfaces feasible.

This project demonstrates and quantifies potential surface impacts in the atmosphere, by first directly characterizing realistic atmospheric surfaces, and then traces fingerprints of specific surface properties in a hierarchy of experimental and modelled aerosol processes and atmospheric effects. Successful demonstrations of unique aerosol surface fingerprints will constitute truly novel insights into a currently uncharted area of the atmospheric system and identify an entirely new frontier in aerosol research and atmospheric science.

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

Project results

Research groups

  • ATMOS - Atmospheric Research Group


Nonne Prisle

Nønne Prisle

Associate Professor (tenure)

Silvia Margarita Calderón

Senior Research Fellow

Samuli Urpelainen

Senior Research Fellow

Jussi Malila

University lecturer
Lionel Messi amazing goal.

Jack Lin

Postdoctoral researcher

Noora Hyttinen

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Kamal Raj R

Ph.D. Researcher

Sampo Vepsäläinen

PhD student