Journal cover Journal topic
History of Geo- and Space Sciences An open-access journal
Journal topic
Volume 5, issue 1
Hist. Geo Space. Sci., 5, 75-80, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/hgss-5-75-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: History of geophysical institutes and observatories

Hist. Geo Space. Sci., 5, 75-80, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/hgss-5-75-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Review article 28 Mar 2014

Review article | 28 Mar 2014

On the early history of the Finnish Meteorological Institute

H. Nevanlinna H. Nevanlinna
  • Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, 00101 Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. This article is a review of the foundation (in 1838) and later developments of the Helsinki (Finland) magnetic and meteorological observatory, today the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI). The main focus of the study is in the early history of the FMI up to the beginning of the 20th century.

The first director of the observatory was Physics Professor Johan Jakob Nervander (1805–1848). He was a famous person of the Finnish scientific, academic and cultural community in the early decades of the 19th century.

Finland was an autonomously part of the Russian Empire from 1809 to 1917, but the observatory remained organizationally under the University of Helsinki, independent of Russian scientific institutions, and funded by the Finnish Government. Throughout the late-19th century the Meteorological Institute was responsible of nationwide meteorological, hydrological and marine observations and research. The observatory was transferred to the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters under the name the Central Meteorological Institute in 1881. The focus of the work carried out in the Institute was changed gradually towards meteorology. Magnetic measurements were still continued but in a lower level of importance.

The culmination of Finnish geophysical achievements in the 19th century was the participation to the International Polar Year programme in 1882–1883 by setting up a full-scale meteorological and magnetic observatory in Sodankylä, Lapland.

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