Beautiful China & Pan-Eurasian Experiment

Beautiful China – 21st Century Beautiful Modern China

University of Helsinki, Department of Physics, Division of Atmospheric SciencesAcademy

Professor Markku Kulmala                                     

Research Coordinator East-Asia Dr. Joni Kujansuu


China is a good example of an environmental hot spot region due to its large number of inhabitants living in varying environmental conditions together with rapidly changing and evolving socio-economic conditions. Aerosol particles and trace gases affect quality of life in many ways in different economical regions, both outdoors as well as indoors. China’s large-scale and high-speed urbanization and industrialization are unique in history, thus there are no existing solutions how to deal with their present and near future negative impacts. At the present, air pollution is severe in around 20% of the cities in China, and especially fine particle air pollution has become obvious in East-China. Air pollution has been estimated to kill 2.5 million people per year in China. Adverse effects of these air pollutants are interlinked and they crucially influence human health, food production and visibility.

For a problem as complicated and multi-faceted as the air quality situation in China, solutions can be achieved only via a holistic approach. The holistic approach (Fig. 1) takes into consideration all relevant pollutants and their sources, as well as the effects of the pollutants on the society and policy making. This way, the steps towards most practical solutions can be done. In order to reach the targeted air quality improvements in China, decided by the National People’s Congress, it is essential to address simultaneously the various different air pollutants. This is because of several feedback mechanisms and interactions between the different pollutants and their effects on atmospheric composition. Reducing the emissions of air pollutants also help to reduce CO2 and black carbon (BC) emission, which can cause changes in environment and climate on national and global scale.

Figure 1.

Figure 1. Schematic figure on comprehensive / holistic way to understand air quality issue and to solve the related challenges and problems. R indicates universities and other research institutes and C stands for companies and other commercial activities.



From deep understanding to practical solutions – Connections between air quality improvements in Finland and China

Holistic approach can have rapid and essential effects on air quality. Combining advantages and obtained knowledge and experiences from the methods applied in Finland to solve and maintain good air quality, and to re-organize and develop them to a focused and holistic approach that is the most suitable for the conditions prevalent in China, we are able to produce the most useful outcome in a significantly shorter time scale. Joint Sino-Finnish holistic approach provides a breakthrough to the next level of actions to solve the air quality problem in a most efficient way for China. Finnish Cleantech Cluster can provide solutions to air pollution problems prevalent in mega-cities of China.

Finland and University of Helsinki are the world leader in air quality and atmospheric research and in understanding on the atmospheric processes and feedbacks between the ecosystems and atmosphere. Finnish technical and commercial expertise in environmental monitoring (meteorology, air quality, emission measurements, pollution control and filtration techniques) are well established in the global market. Finland has a positive feedback between the basic and applied research providing innovation potential for the benefit of the society. By combining our scientific expertise with the innovative commercial activity and working in collaboration with the Chinese government, research organizations and companies, we can provide cost-effective solutions for improving air quality in mega-cities.

The implementation of the project is envisioned to occur by the lead of Sino-Finnish Research and Innovation Centre for Air Pollution and Atmospheric Environment. (SIFIAIR) that is a Sino-Finnish collaboration unit focusing on providing cost-effective air quality solution packages for local and national governments of China. Purpose of the Centre is to facilitate collaboration between Chinese and Finnish partners, together with directing and supporting private sector to form the most useful engineering solutions for the society of China. Centre is formed by academic partners and private companies, and is divided to research and innovation units. Units are led by University of Helsinki together with selected expert partners. SIFIAIR is working in close contact with the State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, initiated by China Education and Research Network (CERNET) and managed by the Chinese Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science and Technology. Two main institutes in the State Key Joint Laboratory are Peking University and Tsinghua University, two main Chinese partners of SIFIAIR.

SIFIAIR activities focus on four main themes:

  • Research
  • Infrastructures
  • Education and knowledge transfer
  • Innovations

Purpose of the SIFIAIR is to provide a platform, assistance and guidance for individual activities and innovations in order to form large scale solution packages that fulfil the requirements and demands of the initiatives for solving present air pollution problems by the local and national governments of China. Action packages provide cost-effective options for socially and environmentally focused development of national infrastructures.


The Eurasian Pan-Eurasian Experiment (PEEX) is a multidisciplinary, multi-scale program focused on solving grand challenges in northern Eurasia and China focusing in Arctic and boreal regions. PEEX will also help to develop service, adaptation and mitigation plans for societies to cope with global change. It is a bottom-up initiative by several European, Russian and Chinese research organizations and institutes with co-operation of US and Canadian organizations and institutes. The PEEX approach emphasizes that solving challenges related to climate change, air quality and cryospheric change requires large-scale coordinated co-operation of the international research communities. Strong involvement and international collaboration between European, Russian and Chinese partners is needed to answer the climate policy challenge: how will northern societies cope with environmental changes? The promoter institutes of this initiative are the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Finland; the Institute of Geography of Moscow State University, AEROCOSMOS, and the Institute of Atmospheric Optics (Siberian branch) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) in Russia; the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Institute for climate and Global Change Research of Nanjing University in China. PEEX is built on collaboration by EU, Russian and Chinese parties, involving scientists from various disciplines, experimentalists and modelers, and international research projects funded by European, Russian and Chinese funding programs. The first active PEEX period is 2013-2033. The first PEEX meeting was held in Helsinki in October 2012. PEEX is open for other institutes to join.


PEEX is a multidisciplinary, multi-scale research initiative aiming at resolving the major uncertainties in Earth System and Global Sustainability Science concerning the Arctic and boreal Pan-Eurasian regions including the impact and influence of China. The vision of PEEX is to solve interlinked global grand challenges influencing human well-being and societies in northern Eurasia and China in an integrative way, recognizing the significant role of boreal and Arctic regions in the context of global change. The list of grand challenges cover subjects such as climate change, air quality, biodiversity loss, chemicalization, food supply, energy production and fresh water supply.

The PEEX vision includes the establishment and maintenance of long-term, coherent and coordinated research and education activities and continuous, comprehensive research infrastructures in the PEEX domain. PEEX aims to contribute to the Earth system science agenda and climate policy in topics important to the Pan-Eurasian environment, and to provide adaptation and mitigation strategies for the Northern Pan-Eurasian and Chinese societies related to Grand Challenges particularly climate change and air quality.


PEEX aim to be a next-generation natural sciences and socio-economic research initiative using excellent multi-disciplinary science with clear impacts on future environmental, socio-economic and demographic development of the Arctic and boreal regions as well as of China. PEEX is also a science community building novel infrastructures in the Northern Pan-Eurasian region and in China.

Link to the homepage of PEEX:

PEEX – Homepage