In figure in front, from left; Olivier Wenden, Hanna Lappalainen, Mikko Sipilä, HSH Prince Albert, Erkki Parkkinen, Bernard Fautrier together with station staff, Riikka Karppinen and Jaanä Bäck.
The University of Helsinki (UH) and Salla Municipality invited HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco to visit the Station for Measuring Ecosystem and Atmosphere Relations (SMEAR I) in Värriö, Finland. The aim of the visit was to introduce the SMEAR-1 station and to discuss, how to best promote the SMEAR measurement concept for the comprehensive global observatory and how to increase the international profile of the SMEAR I station in Värriö as a station providing comprehensive environmental data in the Arctic. These ideas have been already facilitated by the project called “Arena for the gap analysis of the existing Arctic Science Co-Operations (AASCO)” coordinated by INAR has been funded by the Prince Albert Foundation in 2021-2023. A new decision has been just made to fund the AASCO-2 project for 2023-2025. The comprehensive measurements are needed to understand, predict and find solutions to Grand Challenges such as climate change and air quality. The INAR-UH goal is to establish a global network of SMEAR type state-of-the art comprehensive stations in collaboration with international organizations e.g. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to meet these grand challenges. This goal finds synergy with the AASCO process funded by the Prince Albert Foundation.
The Prince Albert delegation fist had a meeting in Rovaniemi Arktikum, where the delegation was welcomed by rectors Antti Syväjärvi and Sari Lindblom. Mr Bernard Fautrier, Ministre plenipotentiaire, Mr Olivier Wenden, Vice-président et administrateur délégué de la FPAII and Col. Philippe Rebaudengo, Aide de camp from Monaco were travelling together with HSH Prince Albert during the vist I Rovaniemi and Värriö. The AASCO-project was introduced by Docent Hanna Lappalainen. After the discussions in Arktikum the delegation visited Värriö station, where Professor Mikko Sipilä, INAR University of Helsinki, SMEAR-I Värriö station director and Professor Jaana Bäck, INAR University of Helsinki, Forest ecosystems introduced the SMEAR-I stations. The station carries out state-of-the-art ecosystem – atmosphere measurements relevant to climate change and biodiversity research. Regional Aspects of Arctic Research were discussed by Mayor Erkki Parkkinen, Salla municipality and Riikka Karppinen, Municipality Council Chair, Sodankylä municipality. The vist was coordinated in collaboration with the University of Arctic. INAR is coordinating one of the University of Arctic Thematic networks called Arctic – boreal Hub.