Space Physics an Environmental Science?

Thomas Ulich

Geophysical Observatory, FIN-99600 Sodankylä, Finland


At least since the 1920s people are trying to understand how the Sun affects life on Earth. Nowadays the changing climate has become one of the most urgent topics to cover for many sciences such as meteorology, chemistry, physics, biology, and anthropology. One of today's key questions is how much of the observed changes are anthropogenic and how much is forced from outside, i.e. from the Sun. The expertise of space physics, developed over decades, finds new applications in the quest of understanding long-term changes in the upper atmosphere and their interactions with the lower atmosphere and human life on Earth. Studies based on existing long-term records of relevant data are discussed and some open questions are addressed. The future plan for collaborative research between the Sodankylä Observatory of the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory is introduced.