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Black Carbon Footprint

The aim of BC Footprint project is to develop a BC Footprint concept that can be used as a uniform metrics for Black Carbon (BC), covering the whole chain from BC emissions to atmospheric BC concentrations and climatic effects.


“Black carbon” (BC) is considered to be the most important light absorbing particulate component in the atmosphere in respect of global warming. In addition to direct atmospheric impacts on global climate, BC can deposit on snow leading e.g. a reduction of snow albedo in Arctic areas. In urban areas, BC significantly affects public health.

BC sources are typically combustion processes and its main emission sources are anthropogenic, such as transportation, industry and residential combustion. Although the measurement technologies have significantly developed lately, uniform metrics does not exist for the BC emissions, concentrations and effects.

Due to the importance of BC in research regarding the global warming and the potential of BC in climate protection, it has been taken into the arena of Finnish foreign policy.



The aim of the BC Footprint project is to develop a scientific basis create in-depth knowledge about BC, including measurement methods, BC emissions, ambient BC concentrations and their transformation during aging to create the BC Footprint concept that can be used for calculating the BC Footprint of a certain action or a product. Ideally, BC Footprint concept should be flexible and applicable to different purposes ranging from e.g. a BC Footprint of producing a certain action or product. As a part of conceptualizing BC footprint, the link from BC emissions to climate impacts that are commensurate with other established climate impact metrics (e.g. CO2 equivalents at different time horizons) should be developed. Also the health aspects of BC emissions are considered.


The BC Footprint concept is developed to facilitate the dialogue between the scientific and private technology sector, the political actors, and the citizens, to provide improved mitigation and to enhance well-being and growth. The project also aims to create a new research-oriented business ecosystem covering actors from different areas of companies, research and authorities.

Funding source

The project is funded by Business Finland, as well as companies Vaisala Oy, Dekati Oy, Airmodus Oy, Valmet Oy, Pegasor Oy, AX-Suunnittelu, AGCO Power, and SSAB.



Research partners of the BC Footprint project are Tampere University (TAU; Aerosol Physics Laboratory, Cost Management Center (CMC), MAB/Politics Unit, Chemistry and Bioengineering Laboratory), Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI; Aerosol research, Calibration laboratory), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), University of Eastern Finland (UEF), and Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).