Climate change – that is a topic on everybody’s mind. There is plenty of talk about it, but I wanted to spend time with someone who really understands the science and whose work truly makes a difference. That person is Professor Petteri Taalas, the Director General of Ilmatieteen Laitos, the Finnish Meteorological Institute. So, I went with Wendy Kahler, the Environment, Science and Technology officer here at the U.S. Embassy to meet with Petteri and his Executive Assistant, Joanna Saarinen, at the stunning headquarters of FMI.
I listened intently for almost two hours as Petteri explained all of the amazing work that was being undertaken at FMI. (O.K., I have to admit that I interrupted every few minutes to pepper him with questions.) He covered everything from the short term weather modeling that they use to generate the predictions so important to businesses and individuals, all the way up to the large scale and long term climate analysis critical to understanding, addressing and adapting to climate change.
This kind of meeting with someone armed with so much knowledge and such clarity in translating technical information into layman’s terms brings out the science geek side of my personality. I had days of questions, but only a few hours to spend with Petteri. I warned him that “I’ll be back!” (to quote a now famous Governor), although next time I want to meet up at the Sodankylä-Pallas weather research stations (around 67 degrees latitude).
By the way, just because this is serious science doesn’t mean you can have fun. Here is a photo of Petteri and me in his office.