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Helsinki - a city by the sea

Helsinki - a city by the sea

This page contains up to date information about the marine weather conditions in the Helsinki coastal area. Also the safe building elevations and the maximum estimated significant wave heights can be found in separate tabs.

In 2011 the City of Helsinki initiated a co-operative project with the Finnish Meteorological Institute that was aimed at mapping safe building elevations. During the years 2012–2014 extensive wave buoy measurements were conducted in the Helsinki coastal area using two wave buoys. This stage of the project was completed in the beginning of 2016 and the consequent report ”Turvalliset rakentamiskorkeudet Helsingin rannoilla vuosina 2020, 2050 ja 2100”—published by the geotechnical division—was adopted by the City of Helsinki (Kahma et al., 2016).

After the aforementioned report the project has focused on providing an up to date situational picture. This is done through continuous observations, the most central stations being the permanent wave buoy outside of Suomenlinna and the marine weather observations from Kruunuvuorenselkä. The observations are supplemented by a high-resolution operational wave model that has been implemented for the Helsinki coastal waters. This system supports Helsinki’s municipal planning, the safety of marine traffic, and Helsinki’s marine strategy for travel and recreation. The practical observational and modelling efforts are done by the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

After 2016 new wave observations have been conducted in order to complement and expand the mapped safe building elevations. Additional measurements have been made in the Ahdinallas-basin of the west harbour, outside of Vattuniemi and Melkki, and in Seurasaarenselkä. The 2016 report was updated based on these measurements in 2019 (Björkqvist et al., 2019).

The data gathered in the project is also actively used for scientific research. The outcomes are published in international peer-reviewed journals and have also resulted in a PhD thesis. This scientific knowledge is implemented into the development of the project and the interpretation of its results.


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Persons in charge

  • Jan-Victor Björkqvist, Research scientist, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Marine research unit
  • Milla Johansson, Research scientist, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Marine research unit
  • Ilkka Vähäaho, City of Helsinki, Soil and bedrock -unit
  • Mirva Koskinen, City of Helsinki, Soil and bedrock -unit

Information about the website

All data provided in these pages: © Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and the City of Helsinki. The data can be freely used. The source must be acknowledged when using the data. The data are not necessarily quality checked and may contain errors.

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Reports and publications


Popular and news articles

Scientific publications

  • Björkqvist, J.-V., 2020: Waves in Archipelagos, Finnish Meteorological Institute Contributions ,159, PhD thesis, University of Helsinki, http://hdl.handle.net/10138/308954
  • Björkqvist, J.-V., Pettersson, H., and Kahma, K. K., 2019: The wave spectrum in archipelagos, Ocean Sci., 15, 1469–1487, DOI: 10.5194/os-15-1469-2019.
  • Björkqvist, J.-V., Vähä-Piikkiö, O., Alari, V., Kuznetsova, A., and Tuomi, L., 2020: WAM, SWAN and WAVEWATCH III in the Finnish archipelago – the effect of spectral performance on bulk wave parameters, J. Oper. Oceanogr., 13, 55–70, DOI: 10.1080/1755876X.2019.1633236
  • Björkqvist, J.-V., Kanarik, H., Johansson, M., and Tuomi, L., 2018: A Wave Forecast for the Helsinki Archipelago in the Gulf of Finland. Proceedings of 7th IEEE/OES Baltic Symposium, Klaipeda 12-15 June 2018, Klaipeda, DOI: 10.1109/BALTIC.2018.8634863
  • Björkqvist, J.-V., Vähäaho, I., and Kahma, K. K., 2017: Spectral Field Measurements of Wave Reflection at a Steep Shore with Wave Damping Chambers, WIT Transactions on The Built Environment, 170, pp. 185-191, DOI: 10.2495/CC170181