“How Does Our Space Environment Influence Earth’s Climate?” with Annika Seppälä (University of Otago, New Zealand)

There is life on Earth thanks to the energy we get from the Sun. But how exactly does the Sun and our space environment result in a habitable climate? Some of the energy we get directly as radiation, some as charged particles from the solar wind and Earth’s magnetosphere. In this seminar, we learn how these two distinct sources influence our atmosphere and what the implications to Earth’s climate are. We particularly focus on the influence of charged particles of solar and magnetospheric origin, a pathway recently included for the first time in the climate simulations informing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

Annika Seppälä did her PhD research on the impacts of solar storms on the Earth’s atmosphere at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Annika worked as Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the British Antarctic Survey and as an Academy fellow at the Finnish Meteorological Institute. In 2017 Annika Seppälä moved to New Zealand to take up a Physics faculty position at the University of Otago, where she wants to understand how changes in our space environment influence the atmosphere and climate, and how changes in the polar regions connect to the rest of the globe. This has led to investigating chemical-dynamical coupling in the atmosphere and potential surface level climate implications of energetic particles. Annika Seppälä has published ~70 articles on the topic and believes that we need both comprehensive observations and model simulations to understand the connections from the Sun to Earth’s climate.

Webinar was recorded on December 1, 2022