The significant changes affecting the northern areas of the Arctic region are becoming an increasingly pressing matter on the global stage. By seeking to strengthen its commitment to Arctic research, the University of Oulu hopes to respond to the many challenges associated with the polar region. Currently, the university has five new vacancies for established or up-and-coming researchers, with the successful candidates set to become part of the university's new Arctic Interactions (ArcI) research programme.
Built environment in northern areas is at risk as the climate warms up. According to international research led by Finnish geographers, as much as 70% of the infrastructure in Arctic areas of permafrost is at risk as the climate warms up.
Snow melt runoff and groundwater abstraction are the most used form of fresh water globally, but the supply is diminishing throughout the world. The problem is expected to worsen with ongoing climate change. Professor Björn Klöve, Director of the Water Resources and Environmental Engineering unit at the University of Oulu, offers a scientific take on the issue.
Did you know that the autumn leaves falling into rivers and streams from trees are an important source of nutrition for aquatic organisms? The leaves are attacked by different kinds on zoobenthos, which shred and grind them for nutrition. Climate change is even expected to change the volume of the mass of leaves remaining in flowing waters: when the autumn precipitation still increases from the current level, the flow rates will increase and the leaves falling into rivers will be carried farther away than they used to be. This will change the water ecosystem as well.
Rivers in Arctic areas constitute a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, and especially of carbon dioxide emissions. An international research project has found that the amount of carbon being released from rivers into the atmosphere is larger than previously estimated in the world’s most extensive peat regions in Western Siberia. As the climate warms up, the melting permafrost exposes the huge peat areas in the region, and the organic carbon within this peat can then escape into the atmosphere and accelerate climate change.
Researchers at the Universities of Oulu and Jyväskylä, together with their collaborators in the US and France, have shown that wild animals living in areas contaminated by radioactive material have a different community of bacteria within their digestive system (the gut microbiome) compared with animals that do not live in areas affected by an increase in radiation.
The spacecraft Cassini has identified complex organic substances in material that comes from Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. This finding supports the idea that the water beneath the ice of this moon harbors conditions that might be suitable for life.
The neighbourly relationship between the European pied flycatcher and the great tit provides valuable information about behaviour between the species. Species living in the same area are not only in competition with each other, but also model their behaviour following each other’s example.
The 2018 Julius Bartels Medal is awarded to Ilya G. Usoskin, Professor of space physics at the University of Oulu, for his key contributions to long-term changes of cosmic rays and solar activity. Julius Bartels Medal is awarded by the European Geosciences Union EGU, which is the Europe’s premier geosciences union. It describes Usoskin as a founder of the space climate discipline.
The habitats of species in Finland's flowing waters will move northward as climate change causes temperatures to rise. In addition, seasonal fluctuation in the flow of rivers will become more irregular than it is now. Small headwater streams will experience greater changes in flora and fauna than larger rivers, according to a study by the Finnish Environment Institute and the University of Oulu.
Professor Ilya Usoskin’s article titled A history of solar activity over the millennia has become the most read Springer online publication in astronomy. Published in March 2017, the article has been downloaded more than 7600 times.
Climate warming decreases number of plant species in tundra, but plant-eating animals, such as reindeer and voles, can switch this negative effect to positive. The results by a Finnish-Swedish researcher team are published today in Nature Communications. Findings by the researcher team show that grazers allow more plant species to grow together and benefit from warmer conditions by decreasing biomass of tall and wide-leaved plants and increasing light availability.
An exceptional solar particle storm, the strongest during the last ten thousands of years, is able to perturb the polar stratosphere for at least one year and lead to winter temperature rises up to several degrees centigrade in the Northern Hemisphere. Knowing the effects of a worst-case scenario of such a hazardous event will help in risk evaluation for solar particle storms.
The pine (Pinus sylvestris) does not reach maturity instantly. Therefore, it is useful to be able to ask them at an early stage: “What will you be when you grow up?”. Individual pines will answer the question with their genes.