December 5, 2013

Finnish meteorological expertise a growing global export

Demand for Finnish meteorological expertise is on the rise, as most developing countries are only starting to modernise their weather systems.
Demand for Finnish meteorological expertise is on the rise, as most developing countries are only starting to modernise their weather systems.
Lehtikuva / Jussi Nukari

Extreme weather phenomena, such as typhoons and tsunamis, have increased and intensified in recent years. Demand for Finnish competence in weather forecasting and in building early warning systems is growing globally.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) is one of the oldest players in its field. Through its strong research programmes, FMI has been able to build a world-class weather service that is also being taken abroad.

“We are one of the leading institutes in realising development projects related to preparing for climate change and building weather-related services and early warning systems,” says FMI’s Harri Pietarilia, head of unit, Consulting Services. “We currently have projects under way in a total of 58 countries.”

Around the world

Pietarila recently returned from Khartoum, Sudan, where FMI organised a stakeholder event in collaboration with the Sudan Meteorological Authority. The event included workshops where participants brainstormed hopes and needs for future services, which would form the basis for implementing necessary development measures.

“Sudan is one example of a country where Finnish expertise is exported,” Pietarila says. “We also have bilateral projects, for example, in Malawi, Vietnam, Nepal, Ecuador and Colombia, as well as regional projects related to the modernisation of weather services and early warning systems in, among other places, the Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean, the Andes, and the Balkans.

“Co-operation in the areas of climate change and renewable energy is also prevalent around the globe,” Pietarila adds.

According to Pietarila, the unique nature of Finnish expertise can also strongly be attributed to the world’s leading manufacturer of weather devices – the Finnish company Vaisala, which offers full-scale weather measurement solutions.

“Today, Vaisala’s devices and solutions are critical in making global weather observations,” Pietarila stresses.

Accurate weather information

A number of natural disasters are related to extreme weather phenomena, such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, hailstorms, tornadoes, downpours, floods and heavy winds, which could cause serious damage to people and property.

“Our products and services are used to monitor, identify and forecast weather conditions, so that authorities can properly time warnings and possibly rescue measures,” explains Vaisala’s communications director, Liisa Ahtiluoto. “The products used are radiosondes and dropsondes, automatic weather stations, weather radars, and thunderstorm and lightning detection systems”

Vaisala’s weather observation devices and solutions are used worldwide, for instance, by national meteorological institutes, airport authorities and airport maintenance operators, as well as by road authorities and road maintenance organisations. The company exports to as many as 150 countries every year.

On Monday, Vaisala signed a contract with the Turkish State Meteorological Service on the delivery of seven weather radars. The value of the equipment deliveries scheduled to begin in summer of 2014 is 6.3 million euros.

Text by Sari Okko

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