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Integrated Carbon Observation System

Final Report Summary - ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System)

Executive Summary:

This report is a summary of work that has been done during ICOS preparatory phase spanning 2008-2013 in the preparation of the future research infrastructure. ICOS is a distributed infrastructure that aims to provide the long-term observations necessary to quantify and understand greenhouse gas fluxes over Europe and over ocean regions adjacent to Europe. The ICOS measurements are designed to allow daily determination of (mainly natural) sources and sinks at scales down to approximately 50 x 50 km2, and will be a basis for understanding the carbon exchange processes between the atmosphere, the terrestrial surface, and the ocean. ICOS is the European component of a global carbon observing system.

ICOS had its early design and was first initiated in 2006 by researchers working in EU funded FP-6 projects, mainly Carboeurope and Carboocean. It was reviewed and endorsed by the European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastrucutres (ESFRI) the same year.

During the preparatory phase, technical and scientific work has been performed in preparation for the construction of the key elements of the infrastructure, in particular the atmospheric and the ecosystem network of stations. The ICOS network consists of a growing number of ecosystem and atmospheric stations that collect measurements on a continuous basis (measuring respectively atmospheric GHG concentration, ecosystem flux and associated variables).

ICOS garnered interest from the ocean carbon science community in Europe, and plans have been made to operate a network of systematic ocean observations of air sea CO2 fluxes using ships and fixed point stations in addition to atmospheric and ecosystem observations. The activity of this ocean network was not included in the preparatory phase project funded by the EU, but is now an integral part of the infrastructure.

The preparatory phase also enabled the design, review and construction of central facilities that will support the network during its operations. These facilities include:

o A Central Analytical Laboratory (CAL) for calibration, quality control and atmospheric analyses for the entire network,
o An Atmospheric Thematic Centre (ATC) responsible for atmospheric instrument development/servicing and data processing,
o An Ecosystem Thematic Centre (ETC) supporting the collection of total ecosystem flux measurements and component fluxes and carbon pools, including data processing and instrument development,
o A data distribution centre, the Carbon Portal, providing discovery of and access to ICOS data products such as derived flux information.

The design and implementation plan of these four central facilities has been achieved during the preparatory phase, and construction has begun for the CAL, ATC and ETC. Each facility underwent a review process including detailed applications by candidate host countries, reviews of applications by a panel of international experts, and feedback and refinement of proposals. Resulting host countries are: Germany for the Central Analytical Lab; Italy, Flanders and France for the Ecosystem centre; France and Finland for the Atmospheric centre; and recently (May 2013) Sweden and The Netherlands for the Carbon Portal.

In addition, an Ocean Thematic Centre has been designed and an application from Norway, the United Kingdom and Spain has been received and reviewed shortly after the preparatory phase was terminated.

The implantation of ICOS will take place in two phases: An interim phase (on-going) and an operational phase (when the ERIC will be established). During the operational phase until at least 2013, the network will be run in an operational mode, and greenhouse gas concentrations and fluxes will be determined on a routine basis.

The governance of the future operational infrastructure has been established through negotiations and consensus including scientists and stakeholders from relevant supporting ministries, agencies and research councils. The current state of the ICOS legal organization is a set of statutes approved by a number of institutions, from 16 European countries, which will be submitted end 2013 for the creation of an ERIC. An interim Project Coordination Office is established in Finland (FMI, University of Helsinki). It is responsible for overall coordination outreach until the start of the ERIC.

Project Context and Objectives:

Background and mission statement

ICOS is an infrastructure that aims to provide the long-term observations required to understand the present state of greenhouse gas natural fluxes over Europe for terrestrial ecosystem fluxes and ocean-atmosphere fluxes. Climate change is one the most challenging problems that humanity will have to cope with in the coming decades. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that the observed rise of global temperatures is very likely due to increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It is virtually certain that the increase of these greenhouse gases is driven by man-made emissions overtaking the natural cycles.

The perturbed global biogeochemical cycles of these greenhouse gases are a major driving force of current and future climate change. The concentrations of CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere exceed by far the natural range observed over the last 650‘000 years. Current levels of CO2 have increased by 40% from pre-industrial times and they continue to rise, as fossil fuel emissions are climbing up at a rapid rate. Current levels of CH4 are nearly two and a half times the pre-industrial value.

The causes of the observed CO2 increase in the atmosphere are fossil fuel combustion and modifications of global vegetation through land use change, in particular deforestation. The natural carbon cycle reacts to this perturbation by absorbing approximately half of the annual anthropogenic emissions to the atmosphere in the ocean and in te terrestrial ecosystems, effectively halving the radiative forcing due to man-made CO2 emissions. It is not clear, however, if these natural CO2 sinks will operate in the future under a changing climate and increasing human impacts. The causes of the observed CH4 increase are human activities related to livestock production, rice cultivation and fossil fuel extraction and distribution. At the current atmospheric level of CH4, the natural oxidizing power of the atmosphere cleans up almost all the CH4 injected by human and natural sources but expected increases of natural and anthropogenic emissions will further raise CH4 mixing ratios.

Deeper understanding of the driving forces of climate change requires full quantification of the greenhouse gas emissions and sinks and their evolution at regional scale. Regional greenhouse gas flux patterns, variability and trends allowing characterizing tipping-points and vulnerabilities can be assessed by long term, high precision observations in the atmosphere and at the ocean and over terrestrial ecosystems. It is the mission of ICOS to provide the long-term measurements that allow quantifying greenhouse sinks over the territory of Europe and oceans regions adjacent to Europe.

Rationale of a European Integrated Carbon Observing System

European countries have been at the forefront of setting-up an international treaty to reduce emissions, with the Kyoto Protocol. Yet, measurements in the atmosphere have shown that since 1990, the Kyoto Protocol base year for reducing GHG emissions, radiative forcing of these long-lived agents had actually increased by 26% by 2008. Further, the current basis of observations is not sufficient to determine with sufficient accuracy the CO2, CH4, N2O balance of the European continent, with current uncertainties ranging from 50% to 100% (Schulze et al. 2009).

In the long run, information from a European GHG observation system like ICOS will narrow down future uncertainties, providing observational evidence of the current state of the carbon cycle perturbation. Some of the variables that are observed by ICOS have been classified as essential climate variables by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and are observed through advanced sets of observation networks. An infrastructure like ICOS has significant relevance to climate change mitigation and adaptation in three ways:

• Implementing effective European management strategies to safeguard climate requires a full knowledge of the natural carbon cycle. Individual nations may implement emission controls but a comprehensive strategy of emission offsets and natural sink conservation must be designed to effectively curve down the increase of CO2 (and CH4) concentrations in the future.
• It is possible that continued greenhouse gas emissions will take European ecosystem services past what are referred to as “tipping points”. Tipping points describe thresholds beyond which positive feedback mechanisms in the Earth system are activated whereby increased climate forcing leads, for example, to an increase in natural CO2 emissions from the biosphere, in a spiral of increasing global warming. Knowledge of these thresholds of the natural carbon cycle response to climate change is badly needed,
• Uptake of anthropogenic CO2 by the Earth system causes changes to ecosystems, both beneficial and damaging. One likely beneficial change is the fertilization effect, through which plants grow faster in a richer CO2 environment and thus perhaps sequester a larger fraction of the CO2 emitted by human action. A damaging consequence is acidification of the oceans caused by the uptake of CO2 by seawater, with substantial consequences on marine ecosystems. These ongoing effects of a higher CO2 atmosphere need to be monitored.

Key types of observations

The essential purpose of ICOS is to generate high precision GHG dataset that enable the establishment of accurate carbon budgets from regional to local scales, with a contribution to global observations. This will help in estimating the effectiveness of the measures undertaken to control emissions and manage the carbon cycle, and underpin this with new understanding of carbon cycling in the Earth system and climate feedbacks. The core elements to observe the reservoirs and exchange fluxes of ICOS are in the following three categories.

Atmospheric domain

Measurements of CO2 and CH4 concentrations in the atmosphere are needed to quantify large-scale fluxes, using atmospheric transport models. This approach was initiated in 1957 when the first atmospheric CO2 measurement site was installed at the Mauna Loa observatory. Today, the global atmospheric network consists of about 150 sites around the globe. This network has limited coverage over the continents and almost no coverage in the Tropics. Inversion of these data using transport models has provided most of our knowledge of the global sources and sinks distribution to date. Inversion results indicate the existence of a carbon sink over northern ecosystems and of a tropical terrestrial sink as well. The network is developed through research projects.

• Surface-based in situ stations observations of high precision CO2 and CH4 concentrations across a global network of a dense network of surface stations, covering geographically the European territory as well as key vulnerable regions outside of Europe, including oceanic areas.
• Meteorological parameters (wind speed/direction, temperature, pressure, humidity, mixing layer height) to relate the observed greenhouse gases concentrations to the origin of the air mass.
• Complementary in-situ observation of isotopes of CO2, CH4 and N2O, and O2/N2 ratio to evaluate land and ocean sink ratio, and the locations of these sinks.

Terrestrial domain

In order to interpret the atmospheric concentrations above continents in terms of carbon cycle processes, additional measurements are needed at the surface. Eddy covariance techniques allow continuous monitoring of CO2, H2O, heat fluxes over vegetation canopies. At present, over 400 tower sites are globally operating on a long-term and continuous basis for CO2, H2O, and heat fluxes. Researchers also collect data on site vegetation, soil, hydrologic, and meteorological characteristics at the tower sites. The network is comprised of several sub-networks, most notably with a dense network in Europe. The European network includes about 100 towers. For coherent CH4 and N2O eddy covariance measurements the picture is quite different. NITROEUROPE-IP includes 14 intensive measurement having chamber measurement facilities with good temporal resolution and some of the sites are also running direct eddy covariance measurements. Outside Europe there are also several sites carrying out direct measurements, but no real network like for CO2 exists.

Temporal resolution of a day or so for eddy flux towers is sufficient to capture the variability in terrestrial fluxes driven by changing weather patterns (e.g. the effect of frost or drought on forests) and transform them into operational systems. However, terrestrial ecosystem carbon fluxes are so heterogeneous and variable that it will be impossible to measure fluxes over all kinds of ecosystems continually over Europe and adjacent regions. Other integrating parameters, such as biomass and soil carbon inventories are needed to upscale the flux data, in combination with satellite images. This is called the bottom up approach.

• In situ observations of ecosystem fluxes made by the eddy-covariance technique, with observations of CO2, water vapor and heat fluxes at representative locations, including a range of successional stages and land-use practices and intensities. Over wetlands and rice paddies, CH4 eddy-covariance flux observations should also be made. A global network of about 500 flux measurement stations is envisioned.
• Inventories of the spatial and global distribution of litter and soil organic carbon content in the upper meter of soil, measured in situ typically at ten-year intervals, again including nutrient content, and measures of decomposability.

Ocean domain

• A global ocean CO2 flux measurement network measuring the surface CO2 partial pressure difference between atmosphere and seawater (pCO2) with a coordinated combination of research vessels, ships of opportunity, and autonomous drifting buoys.
• Complementary pCO2 observations in coastal oceans, requiring a variety of platforms (fixed stations, frequent ship transects)
• Dissolved carbon content of the ocean with global coverage, measured typically at 10-year intervals, to estimate the input of anthropogenic CO2 into surface waters.

Key objectives of the preparatory phase of ICOS

The objectives for preparing the European Infrastructure ICOS during the period 2008-2013 were:

• To obtain the agreement of involved countries, and their funding commitment to ensure the construction of the infrastructure, and its long term viability at operational level,
• To establish an efficient centralized Coordination of the infrastructure at the European level, that will guide the process of building the necessary components, organize the expenditure assessment and the fund raising, and the outreach at the project level,
• Develop the Carbon Portal, a unique web-based data center providing access to the ICOS measurements, and to other relevant carbon cycle data, in particular fossil fuel emissions,
• To select the best sensors for making routine measurements of these core parameters, based upon best available technology,
• To select the best sites for atmospheric and ecosystem observations for the future operational network,
• To harmonize and further develop methods for establishing the central facilities of the infrastructure: a Central Analytical Laboratory, an Atmospheric Thematic Centre and an Ecosystem Thematic Centre,
• To run the infrastructure as a demonstration study of one year, with few sites,
• To link ICOS with Earth Observation international coordination bodies and programs, and other greenhouse gas observing networks around the world through the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch program.

These objectives were achieved during 2008-2013 in the work plan through eight complementary work packages:

• Establish a management scheme with an efficient centralized coordination, to organize the construction of ICOS, to associate new investigators (WP 1), to elaborate a legal organization and governance model (WP 2) and to obtain the necessary funding commitments for beginning the Operational Phase of ICOS by the end of this project (WP 3),
• Involve the providers of external datasets, in particular fossil fuel emission maps, which must be linked to ICOS (WP 4), and the users of the infrastructure data and facilities (WP 8),
• Carry out network design studies to optimally select about 30 main atmospheric sites and 30 main ecosystem sites, and additional associated regional sites. Regularly update the list of ICOS core and secondary atmospheric and ecosystem parameters (see Table 2; WP 5),
• Establish the operational measurement criteria for atmospheric and ecosystem parameters, and test and evaluate new methodologies and sensors developed in collaboration with SMEs, in order to select the best available technology for the ICOS observing sites (WP 5),
• Define the ICOS data services in linkage with users (WP 8) and develop the necessary hardware and software for the Atmospheric Thematic Centre and the Ecosystem Thematic Centre (WP 6),
• Make the technological choices for standard fabrication, atmospheric intercomparison protocols, flask analysis and radiocarbon analysis of the Central Analytical Laboratory (WP 6). Define and test independent quality control mechanisms for atmospheric and ecosystem observations (WP 6),
• Deploy during the last year of the project the ICOS Demonstration Experiment, a prototype of the future ICOS operational network, but containing only few sites (WP 7),
• Establish a web-based data center, the Carbon Portal, giving access to ICOS data products and to all relevant carbon cycle datasets, in particular fossil fuel emission maps (WP 8),
• Provide a strategic plan for the infrastructure deployment during the next 20 years, and a detailed implementation plan for the first 5 years of operations (WP 8),
• Adopt and implement the internationally established calibration and quality-control mechanisms requested under the recently approved (October 2005) WMO/GAW Global Atmospheric CO2 and CH4 comprehensive monitoring network of GCOS (Global Climate Observing System). This will considerably strengthen the network in Europe, in particular concerning harmonization and quality assurance, with anticipated dissemination to the global scale (WP 5, WP 6),
• Contribute to the implementation of GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) and of the IGOS-P (Integrated Global Observing Strategy - Partnership) strategy for Atmospheric Chemistry Observations (IGACO) and for Integrated Global Carbon Observations (IGCO).

How these objectives have been attained is detailed in sections below.

Towards the implementation of ICOS after its preparatory phase

The ESFRI working group has placed ICOS on its strategic roadmap, in October 2006. The infrastructure concept and design is based upon research breakthroughs and accumulated experience achieved during the CARBOEUROPE-IP research project. Advancing towards an operational global network, the ICOS infrastructure is expected to be funded by the EU and by governments of the member states. The implementation of ICOS will take place in two steps:

• During the Preparatory Phase in 2008-2013, remaining technological problems will be solved; funding commitments endorsed by the governments, and building of the central facilities will be initiated.
• During the follow-up Operational Phase in 2013-2031, the network will be run in an operational mode, and greenhouse gas fluxes determined on a routine basis.

A strategic choice will be made of having:

• Few Main Sites at which the largest number of mandatory Core Parameters will be measured operationally with the highest precision.
• A larger number of Associated Regional Sites, at which measuring the full list of parameters at the highest precision will not be mandatory.

This preparatory project will finalize all technical choices for establishing core parameter measurements. Few Additional Parameters are also important to measure for meeting the ICOS objectives, but they cannot yet be measured routinely. This project will support targeted research to develop prototypes for routine measurement of these parameters.

A permanent quality control system will be established to ensure the long term integrity of the Main Sites. We aspire to have over Europe about 30 atmospheric and 30 ecosystem main sites.

Determining accurately the time and space distribution of greenhouse fluxes at a high resolution requires however a much larger number of Associated Regional Sites (European researchers already operate more than 30 atmospheric sites and over 60 ecosystem sites.

The associated sites will form the basis of the Regional Observing Network. ICOS will support the Regional Observing Network through a common data management system, powerful outreach tools, access to cheap and low maintenance sensors and standards to ensure that these sites can be maintained with a minimum baseline funding. Access to funding will also be facilitated by ICOS.

The successful deployment and long-term operational viability of ICOS also requires central facilities. An efficient Central Coordination Office, a Central Analytical Laboratory for calibration, quality control and atmospheric flask and radiocarbon analyses, an Atmospheric Thematic Center and an Ecosystem Thematic Centre for data processing, analysis and instrument development/servicing will be established during the Preparatory Phase.

A common data center, the Carbon Portal, will provide free access to ICOS data services, links to fossil fuel emission inventory data, and outreach material towards science and policy communities, and to the general public.

Project Results:

WP1: Consortium Management

As the work package (WP) responsible for the management of the consortium, the main objectives included the efficient management of the project, to guide the consortium towards the establishment of an infrastructure, to add new partners as necessary and to deliver the final and strategic implementation plan in collaboration with the ICOS beneficiaries.

The daily management of ICOS, with 2O partners has included the following groups: Executive Board, Focal Points and Advisory Board. Meeting minutes for each group are available on the website. The EB has had monthly teleconference along with numerous exceptional meetings both through teleconferences and direct meetings during the annual meetings held yearly. The project office (PO), based in France, has concluded three amendments, five periodic reports, one final report, numerous dissemination articles, four Stakeholder’s Handbooks, several brochures, and posters. In an effort to increase the visibility of ICOS both nationally and internationally, the PO has attended and actively contributed to EC funded meetings dedicated to infrastructure management such as ePPCC (European Preparatory phase Projects Coordination Committee) and CoPoRI (Communication and Policy development for Research Infrastructures in Europe) as well as all ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructure) workshops.

This work package was not only focused on the day-to-day management of the project but unlike other EU project concerned basically with the management of the consortium; this WP was also responsible for setting up and implementing the strategy for the establishment of a world-class research infrastructure.

As such, from 2008, the consortium lobbied to have ICOS on national roadmaps for research. At the end of the project, ICOS is now on 13 member roadmaps.

In order to accomplish this, from the beginning of the project, the project office (PO) along with the Executive Board (EB) established a list of National Focal Points (FP’s). Each Focal Point was chosen by the participating countries ministry handling environmental research and given mandate to establish the ICOS network in their country. Additionally, the PO sought to establish contact with the funding agencies of each beneficiary. The ICOS interim Stakeholder’s Council (ISIC) was established in April 2010 as a means for the ICOS preparatory phase members to obtain first-hand knowledge of infrastructure progress in each participating country and for each counties ministerial and/or funding representative to be able to provide expert council as well as their approval or adoption on a variety of strategic decisions affecting future members such as sight selection, facilities locations, legal, governance and financial implementation at the start of the construction phase of ICOS.

The first meetings were chaired by France, followed by Finland and finally by Germany. During the duration of the project, there have been 11 ISIC meetings since October 2010.

In an effort to ensure a future consortium representative of Europe and the long-term observations required to understand the present state of greenhouse gas natural fluxes, the PO worked diligently to include new members including Norway, Israel, and Poland. Norway has been the driver for including ocean atmosphere fluxes into the future consortium. Israel has been instrumental for establishing land ecosystem carbon sequestration potential, changes in ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services, and monitoring of local background greenhouse gases. Poland has been instrumental in setting up the ICOS infrastructure in their country and will contribute numerous atmospheric and ecosystem stations ready for monitoring.

The project office has played the central role in establishing the Central Facilities (CF) of the project: Atmospheric Thematic Center, Ecosystem Thematic Center, Central Analytic Laboratory, the Carbon Portal and the Ocean Thematic Center (still in progress). Initially, interested groups were organized to produce a concept paper detailing the ideal functioning of the CF in question for the future ICOS infrastructure. Once these concept papers were approved by ISIC members, open calls were published on the ICOS website asking for applications to host the different central facilities. Applicants needed to provide a detailed application along with ministerial letters proving support of the CF. Independent international renowned reviewers with specific expertise were contacted and provided both with the central facility concept paper as well as a detailed review form. At the end of the process, ISIC members decided on the final attribution of the CF to the host country.

The final and strategic implementation plan of ICOS includes the science case of the Infrastructure and its specific objectives, as well as the definition and future implementation of the networks of stations in three domains, atmosphere and ecosystem stations and ocean fixed points and vessels. This document summarizes the efforts documented during the preparatory phase to build and operate these networks.

Through the results obtained by the project office and the preparatory phase consortium, the EC has a successful blueprint on how EC funded preparatory projects can become research infrastructures.

WP2: Legal and Governance Work

WP2 collected, analysed, presented and explained to all partners/stakeholders the different possible legal and organisational models available for ICOS. WP2 held meetings and distributed questionnaires in order to gather the partners’ views and preferences. Following in-depth analysis, presentations/explanations/focus group sessions, the newly-available ERIC was adopted as the preferred ICOS long-term legal and organisational model.

Dedicated working groups (legal and financial) were set up by the partners wherein the ERIC structure, statutes, functions and finances would be discussed for proposal to ISIC. It was decided that the ERIC would be headquartered in Finland, and that ERIC would be a distributed structure where the Central Facilities would operate alongside (but not as part of) the ERIC. The Carbon Portal is part of the ERIC.

The statutes are presently at advanced stage, and preparations are being made for submission (est. June 2013) of the key documentation to the European Commission for pre-approval.

• Main results

Analyses of Legal model

During the early phases of the Preparatory Phase, WP2 undertook a two-phase study to consider the requirements of the several partners and the aims and projected life-span of ICOS. This allowed WP2 to understand and gauge the possible compatible organisational models available at national, European and international level. The vehicles/models which were analysed were as follows:

• International structures

o International Organisation (IO)
o Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

• European structures

o Societas Europea
o European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation
o European Economic Interest Grouping
o European Research Infrastructure Consortium

• National structures

o French Société Civile
o UK Private Company Limited by Guarantee
o German “Verein”
o Swiss Public Foundation
o The Belgian (non-profit) Association

For each of the models, the legal, organisational, structural and financial considerations were studied and presented to the ICOS partners / stakeholders in the form of detailed reports and Power Point presentations. Focus group meetings were also organised where legal representatives of the ICOS Partners convened to discuss points in more depth and detail. The main issues were legal personality, liability, IPR/data, membership, voting, law of the headquarters State, and central facilities, contributions, personnel, employment, tax, exemptions (tax/procurement).

The ERIC was a new Community instrument specifically designed as a legal vehicle for research infrastructures of pan-European interest, with a scientific non-commercial character, providing world-class services to researchers. The ERIC was, therefore, recommended early on in the analysis process as a potentially suitable/preferred option for ICOS. Key benefits of the ERIC include:

• Full and separate legal personality recognised in all Member States
• Joint contribution of members to the objectives of ERIC
• Flexibility internal structure, setting-up and administration
• Limited liability
• Applicability of EU law and law of the statutory seat
• Exemptions from Value Added Tax, duties and procurement rules
• Possible additional privileges/exemptions conferred by State of statutory seat

Process for selecting legal model and drafting the constitutional documents

Detailed reports, a full draft application package, draft statutes, several organisational options and dedicated meetings were presented to the ICOS partners during the Preparatory Phase. In light of the delays in receiving approval of the ERIC model by the different partners, and considering the time required for the full incorporation of an ICOS ERIC and the full preparation of all associated documentation, WP2 suggested a two-phased approach, starting with a short-term legal form (e.g. Memorandum of Understanding), to be followed by the permanent legal form. A short-term legal form would ensure that ICOS can progress, even if the ERIC or other permanent structure was not accomplished in time. As a second alternative, WP2 suggested a basic ERIC be set up by founding members, and observer members who would join at a later date.

First different WP2 proposed approaches were discussed with stakeholders (ministries and funding organisations) during the ICOS stakeholders’ conferences that were organised back-to-back with ICOS PPP (Preparatory Phase Project) annual meetings. To speed up the discussions, process and decision making PPP and WP2 suggested to establish a ICOS Stakeholders’ Interim Council (ISIC) as a means for the ICOS PP members to obtain first-hand knowledge of infrastructure progress in each participating country and for each countries ministerial and/or funding representative to be able to provide expert council as well as their approval or adoption on a variety of strategic decisions affecting future operations, including the decision of the approach how to continue with the selection of the legal model and to found the ICOS legal entity. The first ISIC meeting was held in June 2010 in Helsinki and have been followed by 10 ISIC meetings afterwards. Altogether 16 countries have participated in the interim council decision making of ICOS statutes and organisation of the governance of ICOS RI.

By the WP2 suggestion the stakeholders at the ISIC launched the concept of a Letter of Intent (LOI), wherein Partners were requested to approach their respective Ministries/government authorities to obtain declarations of interest in collaborating in the implementation of ICOS and in the setting up of a legal entity with legal personality and full legal capacity. The LOI stipulated further that: (i) an ERIC would be considered; (ii) the signing State would do its best to contribute actively and constructively towards achieving the aims of ICOS and to support its national partner institution(s); (iii) the signing State understood Finland’s readiness to host the seat of ICOS in Helsinki; (iv) ICOS would have distributed Central Facilities where data will be collected for coordinated processing and/or calibration.

This instrument has been signed by a total of 14 countries, thus clearing the way for in-depth discussions, preparations, proposals and decision regarding the specifics of the future ICOS ERIC. The tasks included the ICOS ERIC’s scope, legal status, incorporation, governance, membership, financial contributions, statutes and related documentation with the several Central Facilities.

The executive board (EB) of ICOS preparatory phase proposed to the ISIC in Brussels (30 May 2011) to create a working group (WG) composed of few stakeholders, their legal counsels and representatives of the ICOS EB to draft all the needed constitutional documents for the ICOS ERIC submission. All the countries that have signed the Letter of Intent with the intention to becoming a full member of ICOS ERIC would be members of the legal and statutes working group (LWG). The tasks of the LWG are:

• to form consensus proposals on ICOS ERIC governance and legal agreements
• to draft all the needed constitutional documents
• to propose consensus solutions and legal documents (statutes and contract drafts) for ISIC approval

The LWG have been drafting the following documents:

Constitutional documents:

• ICOS ERIC Statutes

+ Annex 1. List of members and observers
+ Annex 2. Membership contributions (Financial WG)

• Technical and Scientific description
• Internal financial rules (Financial WG)
• Data policy document

+ Finland responsibility: Declaration of the ERIC host country, tax exemption

ICOS Internal document that are in progress:

• Contractual agreements between ICOS ERIC – CFs and ICOS ERIC – networks
• Internal rules (by-laws) of ICOS ERIC

The meeting with ICOS stakeholders in 2008 -2013:

Stakeholder conferences:

• 1st stakeholders Conference and Kick-off meeting, May 19-20 2008, Paris
• 2nd stakeholders Conference and Annual Meeting, May 12-13 2009, Amsterdam
• 3rd stakeholders Conference and Annual Meeting, November 16-18, 2009, Rome
• 4th stakeholders Conference and Annual Meeting, May 30 - June 2 2010, Helsinki
• 5th Stakeholders Conference and Annual Meeting, May 30-June 1, 2011, Brussels
• 6th Stakeholders Conference and Annual Meeting, May 30-June 1, 2012, Norway
• 7th Stakeholders Conference and Annual Meeting, May 26-June 1, 2013, Biarritz

ISIC and LWG meetings:

• 1st ISIC meeting, 2 June, 2010 Helsinki
• 2nd ISIC videoconference meeting 19 October, 2010
• 3rd ISIC meeting 1 March, 2011, Brussels
• 4th ISIC meeting 30 May, 2011, Brussels
• 5th ISIC meeting, June 2011, Helsinki

o LWG Set-up meeting, Frankfurt, July 1 2011
o LWG Preparatory Telco, Aug 25
o 2nd LWG meeting, Frankfurt, Sept 6
o LWG Preparatory Telco, Sept 14
o LWG Preparatory Telco, Sept 28

• 6th ISIC meeting, 7 Oct 2011

o LWG Web-conference, 19 December 2011
o LWG meeting, 2 Feb 2012

• 7th ISIC meeting, 28 Feb 2012

o LWG Web-conference, 31 March 2012
o LWG face-to-face meeting, 3 May 2012

• 8th ISIC meeting, 1 June 2012

o LWG meeting, 19 Sept 2012 with EC legal adviser
o LWG Telco, 25 Sept 2012
o LWG face-to-face meeting, 17 Oct 2012

• 9th ISIC meeting, 18 Oct 2012

o LWG Statutes workshop, 14 Dec
o LWG Web-conference, 14 Jan (data policy)
o LWG Web-conference, 21 Jan (data policy)

• 10th ISIC meeting, 22 Jan 2013

o Ministerial circulation, 15 Feb – 15 April
o EC pre-check, 2 – 9 April
o LWG Statutes workshop, 2 May

• 11th ISIC meeting 28 March 2013
• 12th ISIC meeting, 28 May 2013 (after the preparatory phase has concluded)

Status of ICOS ERIC submission

Ministerial circulation of the 1) ICOS ERIC statutes, 2) Technical and scientific description, 3) Data policy document and 4) DRAFT Internal Financial Rules took place in the ministries and funding agencies of the ISIC member countries in 15 Feb -15 April 2013. The ICOS ERIC statutes were sent to EC pre-check in early April. Final, minor modifications are to be approved in the ISIC meeting in 28 May and the ICOS ERIC Statutes and other documents mentioned above will be sent to the European Commission by Mid-June 2013 to start the ERIC application process Step 1. The next application step (Step 2) with the signatures from the participating countries will take place in November 2013. At the moment when the European Commission publishes the ICOS ERIC Statutes in the Official Journal the legal organization for implementing of ICOS is established. This is planned to take place by the end of this year (2013).

The constitutional meeting of the ICOS ERIC General Assembly will take place in the first quarter of year 2014, convened by the ICOS ERIC host country, Finland. The first GA meeting will approve the first year budget, elect a Chairperson, nominate the Director General of ICOS ERIC, SAB members, and RI Committee members, and approve any internal rules.

The figure below illustrates the time line for establishment of the ICOS ERIC.

Transitional organisation of ICOS

Following SJ Berwin's prior suggestions, Finland has proposed a transitional structure to govern the transition from PPP to ERIC. The governance and preparations before the establishment of the ICOS ERIC and full operational phase would be ensured by means of interim governance bodies, and with the support of the transitional Head Office in Helsinki. This proposal was approved in Stakeholders’ Interim Council ISIC October 2012 and will come fully into effect when the PPP ends. ISIC is already functioning as the highest decision making body to approve all the constitutional documents and strategic issues. ISIC will be replaced by ICOS General Assembly of the ICOS ERIC.

Interim ICOS RI Committee will be established to continue the work of the PPP Executive Board until the ICOS ERIC is established. The members for the ICOS RI Committee have been nominated and the Committee in April 2013. The current SAB for the PPP is proposed to continue as an interim SAB to give external advice for ICOS RI. These interim bodies would start when the PPP ends in March 2013.

The ICOS RI station network extends gradually as the countries become member of ICOS ERIC. The transitional Head Office coordinates the activities of the CFs together with the interim ICOS RI Committee. The ICOS ERIC and Head Office set-up team, nominated by ISIC in October 2012, will help in establishing the interim governance bodies for the transition period. This will include drafting the Terms of Reference for these bodies, getting approval for those from the ISIC, and coordinating their activities.

WP3: Expenditure and resource analysis; financial arrangements

Sixteen countries have been involved in the financial negotiations, with nominated delegates in ICOS Stakeholders' Interim Council meetings. 8 countries with nominated representatives in the Financial Working Group (FWG), chaired by Finland, have developed the details of financial principles over several face-to-face meetings and teleconferences.

The tasks for the FWG were to:

1) provide a global budget for the first 5 years of the ERIC and the ICOS RI with principles for calculation of annual country contributions and the contributions for the first 5 years
2) produce an Internal Financial Rules –document and
3) produce the statutes for financial issues.

The FWG has drafted the financial ANNEX 2 of the ICOS ERIC statutes describing the Financial principles and membership contributions for the first five years. Financial principles and membership contributions for the first five years will be approved in the interim Council (ISIC) meeting May 28, 2013. The budget will be finally approved by the first ICOS ERIC General Assembly during the first quarter of 2014.

In last 12 months the financial negations between the partners has been completed, including the financial planning of ICOS RI and annual membership contributions. The Internal Financial Rules has been drafted, and is now a complete version is ready for the official establishment of ICOS ERIC. The common reporting system for Central Facilities financial planning was drafted and accepted in fall 2012. More close collaboration and discussion between the Head Office and Central Facilities was established in a special workshop.

Work progress:
• First face to face meeting on May 9th 2012

o Advances so far were discussed
o Discussion paper on financial issues was presented
o Most important and sensitive issues were identified and discussed
o First recommendations for the ISIC
o First action items listed

• Web conference, June 21st 2012

o First proposal on sharing the common costs
o Tasks for CFs for station fees, station lists and service lists

• Face to face meeting, September 10th 2012,

o Second proposal on sharing the common costs
o station fees, station lists and service lists
o Preparing of the proposal for the ISIC
o Transparency of the budgets and reporting

• Web conference, September 24th 2012

o Final drafting of the proposal of calculation method of the common costs for ISIC

• Web conference, November 30th 2012

o Annex 2 first drafting
o Internal Financial Rules first drafting
o Global budget issues

• Face to face meeting, December 10th 2012,

o Drafting of the financial statutes and the Annex 2
o Terminology for governance and financial issues ICOS RI

• Web conference, January 7th 2013

o Approval of the Annex 2 and Financial statutes proposal for ISIC

• Web conference

o Final editing of the Internal Financial Rules before sending them for ministerial circulation

• Face to face meeting, April 19th 2013

o Discussion and finalization of the documents on financial planning (ICOS ERIC and ICOS Central Facilities) and annual membership contributions, for the ISIC meeting on May 28th
o Final editing of the Internal Financial Rules for the ISIC meeting on May 28th

Achievements related to Financial Issues:

• Feb 2012: - Financial Working group established.
• Oct 2012: - Common reporting sheet for ICOS Central Facilities financial planning accepted in ISIC
• Jan 2013: - Decision on the calculation method for the annual membership contributions in ISIC

- Statute articles related to the financial issues accepted in ISIC
- Annex 2, financial principles and initial commitments accepted in ISIC

• March 2013: - Countries provided the station lists for the first five years

- Central Facilities provided the contributions needed based on station number and type

• April 2013: - ICOS Central Facilities five year financial plans provided

- Annex 2 on membership contributions finalised for the Step 1
- A complete version of Internal Financial Rules finalised for the acceptance of the ISIC in May 28th

The project office coordinated the compilation of the expenditure and resource analysis chapter that was published yearly in the ICOS stakeholder handbook from 2008 to 2012.WP4: ICOS integration in environment of carbon data providers

The value of ICOS data and derived data products to a wider user community is largely increased if strong links to other carbon datasets from related research and monitoring activities are established. The basic idea of this work package was to establish strong links to providers of external core data to ICOS and to provide access to a wide range of external carbon cycle data products.

First step was to establish a complete list of Essential Carbon Variables (ECAV) according to Integrated Global Carbon Observation (IGCO). A comparison of these IGCO variables to those planned for ICOS (see report in paragraph about ‘main science and technological results’) showed that spatially integrating observations or spatially integrated data and vertical atmospheric measurements are the key external products to complement ICOS measurements. The former include maps of fire extents and frequency, biomass, soil carbon content, and fossil fuel emissions.

Locating direct or indirect sources of data for these variables was the second focus of ICOS WP 4. Meetings with data providers were conducted, but could not be finalized in terms of concrete agreements as well as hardware and software requirements since the final decision about the Carbon Portal has not been made during ICOS PP. Nevertheless, data from already completed projects dealing with ICOS-related data (e.g. CarboEurope) were successfully integrated into the databases of the thematic centers. Important data gaps were identified and strategies to fill them were suggested.

In parallel, data sharing principles were negotiated with important data owners. During these negotiations a process with the objective to reach a consensus on the implementation of the data sharing principles for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) was established. Instead of negotiating individual bilateral agreements this process was supported. The respective white paper of GEOSS was commented.

The final task was to establish an infrastructure to make external data available for users via the Carbon Portal of ICOS. However, during the development of the Carbon Portal concept it turned out that data publication strategies and data policies were to divers to integrate external data in the ICOS’ Carbon Portal. Consequently, the Carbon Portal concept was supplemented by a metadata strategy, which makes ICOS data visible as well as citable and allows the incorporation of metadata about external data providers, who are expected to provide metadata according to international standards and protect the data with the least possible intellectual property rights, preferably dedicated to the public domain, in a machine-readable form.

During ICOS PPP software infrastructure to collect, treat and distribute data in the framework of the extended demo experiment was developed (see below). CarboScope™, part of a carbon portal demonstrator was established

• Main science and technological results

Report: Specification of external data products and providers

In this report, submitted in November 2009, a complete list of Essential Carbon Variables (ECAV) according to Integrated Global Carbon Observation (IGCO) was established. As of January 2010 it has been decided to adopt the term Essential Carbon Cycle Variables (ECCVs) instead of Essential CArbon Variables (ECAVs), to avoid confusing them with Essential Climate Variables (ECVs). The list was also published in the internet via the COCOS website ( By comparing this list with the proposed terrestrial and atmospheric ICOS measurement activities important external data products to complement ICOS data were identified.

These external data should include spatially integrating observations or databases for extrapolating point measurements to areal coverage. These include climate, columnar gas concentrations, land cover type, biomass, vegetation activity, vegetation disturbances, soil characteristics, nutrient deposition from the atmosphere, and fossil/bio-fuel emissions. In addition, point data on lateral carbon and nutrient transport with harvested biomass, rivers, and sediment is needed.

Providers of some of the data identified. One possible metadata scheme (DataCite) was explored (see ‘Generated foreground’).

Update on Land Cover Change (together with COCOS)

This report, submitted in January 2010, describes the specifications for land use observations, lists the available land cover products from remote sensing and describes possible use as ECCV. Data providers and their respective internet portals are listed.

The White Paper on the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles

The white paper develop data sharing principles for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), was commented.

• Generated Foreground – These are the results that have been created within the project which directly assist the beneficiary and EC in to performing further research

Metadata and digital object identifier

Instead of presenting external data directly through the Carbon Portal, a metadata exchange will be preferred. The need to define relevant metadata standards has been stressed in the Carbon Portal concept paper. Furthermore, an agreement on metadata exchange format shall be made to facilitate exchange with other data centers. The German DataCite group based at the TIB, Hannover was visited in June 2012. The DataCite initiative comprises three main components that are of high importance for ICOS:

• Digital object identifiers: DataCite provides a persistent approach to access, identification, sharing, and re-use of datasets. For this purpose, a digital object identifier for datasets (doi) connects the dataset to a metadata schema, which fulfils several key functions, mainly providing a standard citation format for datasets and promote dataset discovery.
• Metadata: DataCite hosts a minimum metadata set that can be defined by the users themselves but has to follow the basic scheme and provide a link to the data. ICOS itself develops and hosts an extended set of metadata. From my point of view this should be done by the Carbon Portal team.
• Citation system: A citation system is under construction. DataCite and main publishers of scientific journals are going to sign an agreement soon that aims to establish data citation in scientific papers.

DataCite is a very interesting system for ICOS, since ICOS has a high degree of freedom to develop its own metadata schema within DataCite.

Identification of data gaps

A comparison of variables measured by ICOS with the ECCVs indicated several areas where external data is needed: vegetation activity, fire extent and frequency, soil carbon content, land use and land use change, C-fuel emissions, lateral transports, and nitrogen deposition. In addition, the need for an explicit specification of ECCVs with regard to spatial and temporal resolution, update cycle, and accuracy was identified.

• Vegetation activity: Many global satellite products are available for spatially integrating CO₂ fluxes, vegetation activity, and weather. These are listed in detail in the IGOS Carbon Theme Report (Ciais et al. 2004). Many of the products are available from the European Space Agency via LSA SAF.
• Fire extent and frequency: The Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC, is an activity of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR). Within its framework several satellite products are currently available for the past: global burnt areas 2000–2007 (1 km, daily), global fire probability maps 1982–1999 (8 km, weekly), ane the ATSR World Fire Atlas 1995–present).
• Soil carbon content: IIASA and FAO have recently published a new version of its Harmonized World Soil Database (version 1.1 It has a resolution of 30 arcseconds (≈1 km at equator). Its content includes information on the organic C concentration and bulk density of the soil down to 100 cm. A specialized European product, the European Soil Database v. 1.2 contains information on C concentration in the upper 30 cm. A derived map with 1 km resolution is available. Additional information on soil depth and bulk density from the SPADE soil profile database allows estimating carbon content. The FP7 project iSOIL ( started in 2008, will expand techniques for mapping soil fast and reliably. When those techniques are applied across Europe in the future, more reliable soil carbon maps may become available in the future.
• Land use, land use change: The CORINE land cover data with a spatial resolution of 100 m is currently the best product available covering the EU. It exceeds the 1-km resolution of the Global Land Cover 2000 database. Specialized products for wetlands are provided by the GlobWetland project (
• C-fuel emissions: Several historic maps of fossil fuel emissions are currently available produced by different methods (T3 annual, EDGAR FT2000, EDG annual, IER hourly). A recent study (Peylin et al. 2009) concluded that “changes in the estimated monthly biosphere flux (Fbio) over Europe, using two inverse modelling approaches, are relatively small (less that 5%) while changes in annual Fbio (up to ~0.15 Gt C/yr) are only slightly smaller than the differences in annual emission totals and around 30% of the mean European ecosystem carbon sink. These results point to an urgent need to improve not only the transport models but also the assumed spatial and temporal distribution of fossil fuel emission maps.”
• Lateral transports: Maps of modeled soil erodability produced in the Pan-European Soil Erosion Risk Assessment project (PESERA, may be used until more specialized products become available. The GlobWetland project provides specialized maps that may allow calculating riverine transports and carbon storage in lake sediments.
• Nitrogen deposition: The natural co-operation partner for measurements of nitrogen deposition is the NitroEurope project ( ICOS sites should be established at existing NitroEurope sites or jointly with new NitroEurope sites. It is in the interest of ICOS that the N deposition measurements continue beyond the end of NitroEurope in 2011.

WP5: Strategic and logistical work for ICOS network

Within this work package the strategic and logistic work for the ICOS Network has successfully been conducted. The fundamental task of the work package was to assure that the particularities of the network operation, its design, sensor specification, 14C observations and costs were described and quantified. This included the following objectives

• Estimate the investment and running costs of the network, feeding back into WP 3
• Characterize the overall properties of optimal observing networks to constrain the European carbon balance and its ability to detect its changes, including the fossil fuel CO2 component
• Define a guideline for validation of the performance of atmospheric sensors and evaluate new instruments for the atmospheric parameters by intensive tests and field campaigns
• Define the core set of ecosystem observations, standard methodologies, choice of sensors, protocols of data acquisition, long term reliability and quality control and test and prototype the ICOS ecosystem observation package for long-term, cost-effective ecosystem monitoring
• Develop and implement at selected sites a methodology to use high-precision 14CO2 measurements and continuous CO observations as a quantitative tracer for fossil CO2
In addition, several specific objectives have been addressed in the following tasks:

Task 5.1 Network design (CEA-LSCE, MPI-BGC, VUA)

A network design taskforce was set up and an assessment has been initiated with the aim to quantify the potential of candidate atmospheric networks to quantify regional scale budgets of the greenhouse gases CO2 and CH4 using various high-resolution inversion systems. An initial selection of 140 existing tall towers (towers or masts with at least 100 m height) was made based on the spatial distribution of emissions within the surrounding of the tall towers, selecting more or less clean background stations and stations in closer proximity to strong emissions with potential to constrain fossil fuel emissions and their changes. First analysis of footprints (sensitivities of mixing ratio observations to upstream surface-atmosphere fluxes) for a candidate network revealed that spatial coverage is quite patchy, implying the need for more spatial homogeneity of the network. This design question is further assessed in the GEOCARBON project.

Task 5.2 Atmospheric Thematic Center: measurement technology analysis (CEA-LSCE, MPI-BGC, UHEI-IUP)

ICOS atmospheric stations are divided into two categories which differ in the list of required parameters monitored in continuous and/or periodical mode. In addition to the core parameters which are mandatory for each station, we have established a list of additional parameters which are recommended for their scientific value. A periodic assessment and update of the core/additional parameter list was undertaken based on lab and field tests discussed during five dedicated workshops. The updated list has been included in the Stakeholder Handbook and in D5.5. It will be regularly re-evaluated according to new development in the greenhouse gases metrology.

For each core/additional parameter ICOS targets high quality data which involves high precision measurement and stringent data quality management procedure. ICOS measurements must comply with the compatibility goal established by WMO for the greenhouse gases and related tracers (GAW report n° 194), and updated every two years. As a result of tests and evaluations performed during the last 4 years we have produced a list of sensors which are compliant with ICOS requirements (D5.5). Several studies were performed to evaluate the possibility of developing operational sensors for additional parameters such as O2/N2, Radon-222, automated flask sampling systems (Rosenfeld, 2010; Schmithüsen, 2012). An airborne lightweight instrument package was evaluated at one of the regular vertical profile sites that have been used in CARBOEUROPE-IP. Two field campaigns have been organized to test operational retrievals of boundary layer height (Haeffelin et al., 2012; Milroy et al., 2012). In addition to the list of sensors the report D5.5 is also providing requirements and/or recommendations for the integration of the sensors in the ICOS station, the sampling of the air, the calibration protocols, the data and quality management. The costs of the procurement and operation of the equipment has been investigated and is also given in the stakeholder handbook.

Prototype sensors and protocols were evaluated under real field conditions in a quasi-operational context in the demonstration experiment (D5.3; D7.2)

Task 5.3 Ecosystem Thematic Center: measurements technology analysis

The ecosystem sites measure a large number of variables ranging from continuous high frequency meteorological and concentration values to periodic campaign to evaluate slow changing quantities like biomass and soil carbon content. The preparation of a final list of variables to monitor has been the result of an important discussion to find the best trade-off between completeness and cost effectiveness. The list produced and included in D5.5 is ecosystem specific and it is used as reference in the methodological discussion.

Similar to the atmospheric observation, a list of operational criteria was established for ecosystem sites CO2, H2O and heat fluxes, taking particular care on data quality treatment, robustness and reliability over long term periods. A periodic revision of the core/additional variable will be given, depending upon sensor development progress.

An instrument package for ecosystem flux measurements was tested at few sites for several months to assess its performances. A standard set of instruments was also selected after a comparison campaign with multiple instruments that have been organized in the Roccarespampani site in Italy.

Several Working Groups have been established in order to prepare the protocols documentation that will be published in a special issue in a peer-reviewed journal. Participation to the Working Group is open and can be done registering on the Ecosystem ICOS Demo Experiment site (see WP7 report). The testing and analysis of the performances of four methane gas analysers suitable for eddy covariance measurements was carried out (Peltola et al., 2012). The field testing of four nitrous oxide analysers was also carried out. The data is under post processing and the final analyses have started.

The measurements of short and long-wave radiation, diffuse radiation and spectral reflectance were standardized together with common protocols for soil moisture and sap flow. These are now further developed in the working groups of the ETC.

A scientific evaluation report (D5.2) and financial plan were worked out and are part of the stakeholder handbook.

Task 5.4 Technical analysis for 14C-based methods for fossil fuel emissions inference (UHEI-IUP)

A new methodology and a respective instrument prototype package was developed based upon CO measurements properly “calibrated” with parallel high-precision 14CO2 measurements, to be applied as a quantitative surrogate tracer for the fossil fuel CO2.

To validate emissions changes for all central Europe, we therefore propose quasi-continuous two week integrated 14CO2 observations at all Class-1 ICOS RI atmospheric sites. These measurements must be performed at the highest possible precision (better than 2‰), which is aimed at in the ICOS Central Radiocarbon Laboratory (CRL), currently set up at the University of Heidelberg, Germany (see WP6). In order to allow for estimating the fossil fuel component at high temporal resolution, we will apply the methodology developed by Vogel et al. (2010) using continuous CO observations as fossil fuel CO2 proxy.

Main science and technological results

The main results comprise the following items:

• Concepts and technical implementation plans for the atmospheric and ecological networks (ICOS Stakeholder Handbook)
• D5.2 ICOS Report #5. Scientific evaluation report with selection of ICOS sensors and list of measurement operational criteria
• D5.3 Preparation and successful operation of atmospheric sensors and ecosystem measurement set-ups at few selected sites for the ICOS Demonstration Experiment in WP 7
• D5.4 Technical analysis (report) to derive hourly fossil CO2 mixing ratios from radiocarbon and CO (Vogel et al., 2010, 2013)
• D5.5 ICOS Report #6. Final scientific and technical evaluation report (best possible design of ICOS Operational Phase network), final recommendations on atmospheric and ecosystem parameters and instruments and recommendations on operational fossil fuel CO2 monitoring,

Generated Foreground – These are the results that have been created within the project which directly assist the beneficiary and EC in to performing further research

The main achievement of work package 5 is its contribution to the design of the atmospheric and ecological sensor packages and its implementation in ICOS. Specific papers containing the fundamental science aspects of this work include: Groenendijk, M., et al. (2011), Groenendijk, M. (2012), Levin, I., B. Kromer, and S. Hammer(2013), Rosenfeld, M. ( 2010), Schmithüsen, D. (2012), Vogel, F.R. S. Hammer, A. Steinhof, B. Kromer and I. Levin (2010) and Vogel, F.R. B. Thiruchittampalam, J. Theloke, R. Kretschmer, C. Gerbig, S. Hammer and I. Levin (2013).

The material produced in the WP5 is used as the basis for the construction of the ICOS sites and for this reason a perfect foreground result for the scientific community involved in the ICOS infrastructure preparation.

WP6: Strategic and logistical work of ICOS central facilities

Within this work package the strategic and logistic work for the ICOS Research Infrastructure Central Facilities (CF) has successfully been conducted. The fundamental task of the work package was to assure that functional central facilities (ATC, ETC and CAL) will be achieved within the project. This extended from the definitions of main tasks up to specific implementation plans of the respective facilities and thus included the following steps:

• Drafting of requirements, tasks and a first resource assessment of the ATC, ETC and the CAL in respective Concept Papers in 2009 with an additional questionnaire for candidate laboratories to document their qualification for the CAL-tasks (Report #7 D6.1 part 1).
• Arranging a selection process for the respective Central Facility, i.e. application / selection of a review panel of international leading researchers / discussion of applications, reviews and responses by the applicants in the Executive Board to provide a basis for the decision on the locations for ATC, ETC, and CAL by the ISIC. As condition for the application as CAL, performance reports have been prepared by the applicants (Report#7 D6.1 part 2).
• Elaborated implementation plans have been prepared for ATC, ETC, and CAL (Report D6.6).
• Iterative assessment updates of investment and running costs of the Central Facilities for the capacity needs of the respective ICOS monitoring networks were presented (concept paper 2009, Stakeholder Conferences in Rome Nov 2009 and Brussels May 2011; 5 year financial plan for ISIC-Financial Working Group Nov 2012)
• In the last year of the preparatory phase, the carbon portal (CP) concept paper was finalized. An open call was made and after an international independent review, the CP was attributed to the bid made by Sweden.

In addition, several specific technical questions have been addressed as groundwork for the operation of the CF, as summarised in the following tasks:

Task 6.1: Atmospheric and Ecosystem Thematic Centers data services

The Atmospheric Thematic Center (ATC) has established the protocol to submit datasets to the database on a daily basis. Eleven pre-ICOS stations are currently submitting their data to the central server located at LSCE. Automatic processing chains are operational for CO2, CH4, CO, Radon analysers, and meteorological sensors. Standardized JAVA request can be used to extract all the information available in the database. The software applications ATC-Config and ATC-QC have been developed to provide user-friendly interfaces for the stations PIs who have to check and validate the dataset. Authorized users may also extract directly the time series from the ATC database using java requests. The atmospheric datasets are also available on the ATC web site: For each station an interactive visualisation tool has been set up for the most recent CO2 and CH4 data (e.g.: In addition a suite of quick-looks and statistics are updated every day for each station (e.g.: A special data delivery of Near Real Time data has been implemented for the MACC2 project ( The concept of a QC mobile lab for the atmospheric network has been developed.

For the Ecosystem component, new metadata and ancillary data collection systems have been developed and tested during the ICOS Preparatory Phase Demo Experiment. The Ecosystem Thematic Center finalized the methods to submit continuous measurements with their metadata associated to each single sensor and to import them in the database and use the information in the data processing and distribution. The new system is based on the submission of one variable for each sensor so that the aggregation and QC can be done centrally, following standard procedures that have been developed in the context of Task 5.3. It has been proven that the method is flexible enough to allow the inclusion of new emerging variables keeping the structure stable. For example, new parameters linked to the cropland biomass have been recently proposed and added with minor efforts. The system is now under discussion also with other international initiatives such as AmeriFlux and FLUXNET with the aim to agree on a common standard that will facilitate data exchange and cross-network synthesis activities. Also the raw data used to calculate fluxes have been checked in terms of submission and processing, because one of the main ETC responsibilities will be this flux calculation and application of corrections in a centralized and standardized way. Multiple calculation schemes for processing of eddy covariance fluxes have been implemented in the ETC server in order to quantify uncertainty and tested in the context of the Demo Experiment. The results have been particularly encouraging and interesting (see reports D7.2 and D7.3): first of all it has been possible to process the data centrally, getting results similar to what the sites managers calculated; on the other side, the use of different processing schemes, difficult to implement for a single research group, allowed to quantify the uncertainty and also showed clearly that the use of standardized methods is crucial when different sites are compared.

Tasks 6.2 6.4 and 6.5: Central Analytical Laboratories (CALs) and inter-comparison procedures

The role of a Central Flask and Calibration laboratory (ICOS FCL) with respect to the WMO Central Calibration laboratories has been clarified and approved at the WMO expert meeting on CO2 and other greenhouse and trace gases in 2009. The suitability of a filling site for reference gases for the calibration of field instruments within the monitoring networks has been checked and procedures for adjusting of the composition of such reference gases have been elaborated, based on previous work within IMECC (Report M6.3). A calibration strategy for the atmospheric stations has been worked out, providing information on the required capacity to be offered to the ICOS monitoring networks by the CAL (Report D6.2). A comprehensive intercomparison framework for the ICOS atmospheric component has been worked out by a QC working group, based on the concepts of the general ICOS Data Quality Assurance Strategy document (see Stakeholder Handbooks) and findings of Task 6.3 of this work package as well as previous work in IMECC. This Quality Management concept has been integrated as chapter 6 in the Atmospheric Station's Specification document. As above-mentioned the design, assessment of concepts and implementation plans for the components of the Central Analytical Laboratories Task 6.2 6.4 and 6.5 all have been achieved.

Task 6.3: End-to-end Quality Control procedures via inspection teams

Two inspection teams for end-to-end QA/QC procedure of atmospheric and ecosystem monitoring stations, respectively, have been formed (Report D6.4).

After thorough testing of the Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) Spectrometer and the procedures of parallel analysis at the home laboratory (UHEI) the atmospheric team has successfully performed campaigns at two stations (Cabauw, The Netherlands, and OPE, France). These campaigns demonstrated the feasibility of identifying problems at stations (e.g. leaks or mis-assigned calibration standards). The results as well as further recommendations for a comprehensive quality management of atmospheric networks such as ICOS have been published (Hammer et al., Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 1201-1216, 2013).

The ecosystem inspection team has visited four sites (Las Majadas, Spain, Hyytiälä, Finland, Soroe, Denmark, and Rzecin, Poland). The roving eddy covariance system consisted of a sonic anemometer (Gill R3) and three different kinds of gas analyzers with the closed path LI-7000 analyser appearing best suited for this purpose in terms of reliability and data coverage. All data (station and travelling system) were processed by the same ETC software (EddyPro) which will in future be used for ICOS ecosystem site eddy covariance data. In general the flux results compared quite well and in some cases observed larger differences pointed to issues of combinations of specific instruments. Based on the experiences of this test campaign recommendations for the use of a mobile eddy covariance system in future ecosystem station QA/QC activities have been elaborated. The tested approach is recommended with some minor changes for quality control of the ecosystem flux data.

Main science and technological results

The main results comprise the following items:

• Concepts and technical implementation plans for the ATC, ETC, CAL and CP (as separate documents and respective sections in the ICOS Stakeholder Handbook)
• Operational data processing and data visualisation tools and data access to ICOS Demo Experiment data (Task 6.1:;
• Calibration strategy for the atmospheric monitoring network (Task 6.2: Report D6.2)
• Procedures for preparation of real air reference gas mixtures with specified composition of multiple species (Task 6.2: Report M6.3)
• Procedures for the operation of a travelling instruments as quality check for in-situ atmospheric and ecosystem flux measurements (Task 6.3: Hammer et al., Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 1201-1216, 2013; Report by Kolle and Dolman: ICOS QA/QC feasibility study for ecosystem flux measurements)

Generated Foreground – These are the results that have been created within the project which directly assist the beneficiary and EC in to performing further research

The main achievement of work package 6 is its contribution to establishing key components of the ICOS Research Infrastructure. The required preparatory work for the set-up and implementation of the three Central Facilities ATC, ETC and CAL has been finalised with the prospect to get them fully operational in the year 2016.

WP7: Demonstration Experiment

The Demonstration Experiment (DE) WP had as main aim to test the functioning of the future ICOS system (site-central facility-carbon portal). In particular the objective was to test the end-to-end data stream from the acquisition of the measurements, their transmission to the Central Facility, the QAQC, processing and calculation and finally the distribution, while taking into account the existing international standard in order to facilitate the integration of ICOS with others similar initiatives especially in the USA.

The results of the Demonstration Experiment, including the suggestions for the construction and operative phases of the ICOS infrastructure have been reported in a document (ICOS Report #8 adequacy assessment of sites/sensors/facilities for Operational Phase).

To complete the demonstration of the main activities of the future ICOS infrastructure, an analysis of the use of the future ICOS data, in particular in relation to the reduction of errors and uncertainty in the European Carbon balance estimation was also part of this WP.

Task 7.1 Data collection (VUA, CEA-LSCE, MPI-BGC, UNITUS, UEDIN, UHEL, ISBE)

The data collection has been the first step for the demonstration experiment and started in April 2011 to assess the capability and detect limits of the future ICOS network and data flow between sites and Thematic Centers. In this context four ecosystem sites and four atmospheric sites has been selected to submit near real time data to the Thematic Centers and at the end of the experiment also a consolidated version. Originally the data acquisition was planned for six months but the importance of the test suggested extending the duration for additional 6-12 months.

The sites that have been part of the demo experiment have been selected on the basis of past performances and are: Soroe-Denmark, Hyytiala-Finland, Rzecin-Poland and Las Majadas-Spain for the ecosystem sites and OPE/ANDRA-France, MaceHead-Ireland, Cabauw-Netherlands, Puijo-Finland for the atmospheric part. To these sites additional 7 atmospheric sites ( Carnsore Point and Malin Head (Ireland), Ridge Hill and Tacolneston (UK), Ivittuut (Greenland), Puy de Dôme, Biscarosse (France) ).

And one ecosystem site with complex terrain have been added to the demonstration experiment in the last year of the project.

The Ecosystem data are routinely submitted to the ETC in Viterbo and they have been made available at the address in the Demo Experiment page. There it is possible to see a scheme of the tower, all the sensors installed and their characteristics and the last 48 hours of data, available both as plot and as ASCII files to download without any password.

The atmospheric data are automatically transferred to the ATC database at Gif-sur-Yvette once a day, where they are automatically processed. They are available on the ATC web site ( For each station an interactive plot application is available, and several quicklooks are updated every day as a support of the quality control process. A special pipe has been made available to the MACC-II European project which is assimilating atmospheric time series.

Task 7.2 Evaluate data flows and processing and standardized datasets (UNITUS, CEA-LSCE, ISBE)

The main objective of this work-package was to identify where the data flow between sites and thematic centers have the main difficulties and problems in order to propose possible solutions and improvements to be transferred to the ETC and ATC preparation activity. The intrinsic differences in the data acquired by ecosystem and atmospheric sites and also the different data processing chains, required to focus the attention to specific aspects of the atmospheric and ecosystem data elaboration; for this reason the activity is also reported separately for the two groups of sites.


The main differences between ICOS and the previous ecosystem sites networks organization (e.g. CarboEurope) is that the data processing is under the responsibility of the Ecosystem Thematic Center instead of the single site PI or staff. This is a major change that needed to be tested in order to confirm that it is possible and that all the information needed to correctly process the data are collected. This is particularly important for the fluxes (CO2, LE and H) that need a complex calculation.

The raw data collected at each of the DE sites and covering one full year of measurements have been processed centrally by the ETC database staff using different combinations of the possible (and most used) schemes available, using also the metadata collected using an improved template created and tested during the activity, and compared with the site manager version of the calculated fluxes.

The comparison between the PI and centralized versions showed scatters of different magnitude at the four sites involved, due to correction options that vary also from site to site. However the results obtained highlighted the importance of a centralized processing in order to avoid introducing differences that would made multi-site use difficult. On the other side the differences obtained between the processing options should be considered as a source of uncertainty and it is important to take this into consideration during the ETC data unit setup. Finally it has been confirmed that the metadata collected are sufficient for a proper data processing.


Several protocols have been set up in order to ensure the quality of the measurements and the centralized data processing of the Atmosphere demonstration experiment. Near real time data transmission using beta version of the ATC processing software is in place. The software uses a special interface, to adapt to different calibration cylinders connections, calibration sequence description, and thresholds values for physical parameters such as temperature, and an alert system is in place in case of rupture in the processing chain.

The processing performs a first quality control of the time series where some data are automatically flagged based on a set of criteria specific for each station (e.g. flushing time, max/min accepted values for temperature, pressure, molar fractions, etc.). In addition, each station PIs has to validate the dataset by using his own expertise and the information archived in the logbook of the station. To facilitate this work the ATC has produced a graphical interface directly linked to the database. A catalogue of data products (quicklooks, textfiles) updated every day and made available on the ATC website ( is also used for QC of the data time series (e.g. instrument precision, calibration and target gas measurements, etc…).

For each greenhouse gas sensor, two target gases are used to verify the reproducibility of the time series. Flasks are also regularly sampled at several stations, which will provide an independent measurement of CO2, CH4 and CO that we can compare to in-situ monitoring.

During the demo experiment the calibration sequence could be optimized (minimum injection time, frequency, etc.). All calibration gases and all flasks regularly sampled at the site were also provided and analysed by the CAL. Information related to the calibration gases and samples were transferred to the ATC data base, which also collected in NRT the raw data from each site.

A comprehensive quality management for the atmospheric network has been published (Hammer et al., Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 1201-1216, 2013). After thorough testing of the Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) Spectrometer (instrument used as a reference for the side by side comparisons) and the procedures of parallel analysis at the home laboratory (UHEI), in situ campaigns demonstrated the feasibility of identifying problems at stations (e.g. leaks or mis-assigned calibration standards).

In the end, the analysis of one year of atmospheric dataset coming from a dozen of stations has demonstrated that the collection, processing and distribution of data in near real time is feasible. Sampling and calibration protocols have been evaluated, as well as the methodology to ensure the QA/QC of the time series using specific measurements at each stations and one inspection team. The Demo Experiment also showed the necessity of a strong collaboration between the atmospheric stations and the central facility. The ATC data center has developed a database which enables a full traceability of the data processing. It has also developed several tools and data products as a support of quality control by the stations PIs. Involvement of the engineers and scientists to regularly use those tools is crucial for the success of the high precision monitoring program as expected in ICOS. The analysis of the results has been summarized, including the suggestion for the implementation of the best practices, in the ICOS Report #8, deliverable of this WP.

Task 7.3 Demonstration cases of European carbon balance estimates with real data (CEA-LSCE, MPI-BGC, UNITUS, VUA)

A model-based error reduction study conducted by Kadygrov et al., under internal review, gave the following results: “First performance assessment of different configurations of the Integrated Carbon Observing System (ICOS, a European network of atmospheric mole fraction continuous measurements) for constraining European biogenic CO2 fluxes (simply called NEE, for Net Ecosystem Exchange, in the following). A high-resolution (6 hourly, 0.5º latitude, 0.5º longitude) atmospheric inversion system is used for this purpose. The uncertainty of the inverted fluxes is computed by the system for three weeks in July and in December 2007 in an Observing System Simulation Experiments framework. We analyze it at the model grid scale (0.5°), at the country scale and for the domain covering almost all continental Europe including western part of Russia and Turkey (roughly 6.8*106 km2) after temporal aggregation at the two-weekly scale. Several network configurations are tested, from 23 to 66 sites, in order to assess the dependency of the flux uncertainty on the network extension. At 0.5º resolution, the error reduction with respect to the prior error from biosphere model reaches up to 69% in regions with the highest measurement density. Assimilating the data from a network with 23 sites (current network) significantly reduces the uncertainty on bi-weekly NEE by 50% from the prior uncertainty, to the value of ~ 43 TgC/month (over Europe) for July. The error reduction for December 2007 is ~ 66%, with a posterior error ~ 26 TgC/month. Expanding the ICOS atmospheric network to 66 stations further reduces the uncertainty of bi-weekly NEE by 64% (~33 TgC/month) and 79% (~15 TgC/month) relative to the prior errors for July and December respectively. When the results are integrated over the well-constrained Western European domain, uncertainty reduction shows no seasonal contrast. The effect of decreasing the prior error correlation length to 150km (from 250 km in the default setting) or of reducing the transport model error by a twofold factor depends on the scale of aggregation and differs for initially-well and initially-poorly constrained areas. With the given extension of the network, further improvements for the regions with smaller observation density can be brought by improving the quality of the transport model. We show that with a dense ICOS atmospheric observation network, the 2-week CO2 flux uncertainties are reduced by up to 50-80 % for countries like Finland, Germany, France and Spain, and this significantly improves our knowledge about European ecosystems CO2 fluxes.

Main science and technological results

The main results of the demonstration experiment comprise the following items:

• Field test of the possibility to acquire, transmit and process in Near Real Time the measurements collected at ecosystem and atmospheric sites.
• D7.2 ICOS Report #8 with indications for the future connection between sites and thematic centers
• Development of new tools for data collection, QAQC, processing and distribution that are currently under implementation at the ATC and ETC.
• Quantification of the uncertainty and importance of its consideration when measurements are collected and distributed

Generated Foreground – These are the results that have been created within the project which directly assist the beneficiary and EC in to performing further research

The Demonstration Experiment provided a lot of information, data and indication that have been transferred to the following activities. ICOS Preparatory Phase started with the aim to create the basis and test difficulties and possibilities of the future ICOS infrastructure. The Demo Experiment has been an excellent test activity and all the finding are an important basis for the ICOS construction. The DE was extended in time in view of the success and usefulness of its first phase.

WP8: Interaction with Users

WP8 was in charge of the interaction with users. This ambition was achieved mainly through the following means:

- Potential users of ICOS data have been listed in collaboration with the National Focal Points and the ICOS outreach committee. User categories have been defined and their needs characterized from a survey. This survey was based on the answers received to a dedicated questionnaire that has been widely distributed. The ICOS User Needs Report has been approved at the 2011 ICOS annual meeting. It contains key element for: i) shaping the ICOS outputs, including the Carbon Portal, around the users' needs; ii) allowing potential users to efficiently exploit the ICOS products; iii) providing essential information for the ICOS implementation and operational phase; iv) and contributing to the rationale of a strategic document that can be presented to governments and other potential donors for requesting financial support to ICOS. It also provides useful information for improving the communication strategy of the next ICOS phase and for the development of an effective and user friendly web portal (Task 8.1).
- A series of outreach activities have been organized to involve ICOS users, including press releases and high-profile events. Contacts with policy communities, and international Earth Observation coordination bodies and programmes started through the engagement in the GEO (Group on Earth Observations process), the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) programmes. Synergy and collaboration with other relevant projects like COCOS, or ICRI has been continuous (Task 8.2).
- The attribution of the Carbon Portal within the operational infrastructure took place just after the end of the preparatory phase (May 2013), but early in the project, within the ICOS website, a Carbon Portal demonstrator (CarboScope™) was established as an innovative user friendly interface to visualize and compare various carbon data sources relevant to ICOS. The last version includes access to a broad range of flux products (inversions, model outputs, climatologies), a broad range of visualization options, a modernized design and improved texts. Much work has been also performed to develop modern web accesses to general images, quicklook at the data, data reports and actual data for the atmospheric and ecosystem ICOS extended demonstration experiments. Last, two meetings have also been organized to define the Carbon Portal of the operational infrastructure and help writing its concept paper (Task 8.3).
- Training activities have been organized in the second half of the project, through a series of technical workshops gathering the atmospheric and ecosystem communities of ICOS, once the first Thematic Centres were selected. For dissemination toward pupils and students, ICOS-PP has collaborated with the FP7 EU project CarboSchools+ (that linked researchers from several leading carbon science laboratories in Europe with secondary schools around pedagogical projects), and with the climate-KIC (Knowledge and innovation community) (Task 8.4).
- Endorsement of governments for the operational phase was achieved at the last general assembly, when the ICOS Stakeholder Interim Council (11 countries represented) met and planned step 1 of the ICOS ERIC creation in front of the European commission in summer 2013 (Task 8.5).Main science and technological results

Potential Impact:

Socio-economic impact

The preparatory phase of the ICOS research infrastructure has wide-ranging socio-economic implications: improving the information on regional carbon fluxes available to the public and decision makers, technological externalities (innovation required to meet the needs of the infrastructure’s development), general socio-economic benefit of public investment in infrastructure projects, and potential improvement to climate prediction models. European companies involved in carbon observations can benefit from the development of ICOS by gaining competitive advantages on the global market. These types of impact can be analysed following the various lines of achievements in ICOS.

The process initiated by the ICOS stakeholder interim council (ISIC) toward setting up a legal entity (ERIC) (WP2) for ICOS and commitment of countries to supporting ICOS indicate a strengthened activity that gradually create or sustain jobs in research and development. The direct participation of more than a dozen countries across Europe, with the construction and maintenance of monitoring sites and associated research activities (WP5), is a positive indicator of local investment, with detailed expenditure analysis carried in WP3; in countries hosting central facilities, the impact is even higher (WP6) with public investment sustaining research, engineering and administrative positions, as well as procurement typically reaching European companies (SMEs).

Network design (Task 5.1) highlights the need to develop a denser network in most countries, and to install station in currently under sampled regions. Under sampled regions comprise countries in the South and East quarters of Europe, where public expenditure in R&D is generally low. This calls for further national and European investment in these regions, supporting national development of the knowledge economy. Capacity building and the stronger involvement of organization in Eastern Europe has been the subject of WP8 (see Milestone 8.4). This strategic activity will continue with the interim head office of ICOS established to bridge the gap between the end of the preparatory phase and the creation of a European ERIC organization.

Structuring the European landscape of greenhouse gas data provision also has a major impact by enabling the production of quality controlled (WP6) data available to citizens and decision makers, including elaborated products offered by the Carbon Portal (WP4), targeted both to the public and policy makers.

The capabilities of the ICOS research infrastructure’s concept has been evaluated through the Demonstration experiment (WP7). The Demonstration experiment has been an opportunity for European SMEs to get better acquainted with the ICOS requirements. Innovation in these companies has been fostered by the high standard of ICOS’s requirements. Companies who have participated to the experiment by enhancing products include 3 European LIDAR manufacturers, gas analyser manufacturers, service companies, and part manufacturers. The Demonstration experiment and the development of ICOS have brought European SMEs and large groups to identify the emerging market of atmospheric measurement of greenhouse gases. Several scientific papers were co-authored jointly by scientists and engineers from ICOS partners and from the manufacturers. Several of these companies initiated technological development programs to provide rugged instruments using different measurement strategies. User involvement (WP8) has shown that companies initiated the design of tomorrow’s services related to greenhouse gas observations in the frame of public-private partnerships. Technology transfer opportunities offered from European public research organizations to companies include the integrated atmospheric station and ecosystem data processing software (WP6).

User involvement (WP8) targeted more particularly the scientific community and the GMES (now Copernicus) programme of the European Commission and the European Space Agency. Data are initially being used in model parameterization and in atmospheric inverse modelling. Copernicus aims at developing operational Earth observation services that provide information to decision makers, business and the public in the fields of atmospheric, land and marine monitoring and forecast. Horizontal services address emergencies, security, and climate. In four of these six fields, ICOS has been identified as an important data provider of in-situ carbon observations. Copernicus has an estimated cost per EU inhabitant of about €1.07 per year, for an expected minimum financial benefit by 2030 of ~€29.4 Bn. Public investment is anticipated to generate revenue 3.2-fold the initial investment, with the creation of 48,000 jobs. Links for data provision of ICOS to Copernicus atmospheric services has been strengthened immediately once the Demonstration Experiment has given positive results.

Wider societal implications of the project

The EU's target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% relative to 1990 levels by 2020 embodies its objective to fight climate change and is at the heart of the Europe strategy for sustainable growth. Both policy-induced and voluntary actions can help reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon sinks, but significant changes in the carbon budget are likely to require policy interventions. This is called for by European citizens. When asked who within the EU is responsible for tackling climate change, 41% of respondents answered the national governments, 35% answered the EU (TNS Opinion & Social, 2011). European citizens now identify climate change as a key issue with the potential to affect their lives directly and expect their national and European governing bodies to take action through policy. According to this same study, « There is also a positive view of the economic benefits of tackling climate change – almost eight in ten (78%) respondents agree that it can boost the economy and create jobs, a big increase since 2009 (when 63% agreed). At least two-thirds of respondents in each Member State share this view. »

ICOS participates to this effort by monitoring greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and by providing independent and rigorous observations required to assess the regional fluxes of carbon, both in the ecosystems and from fossil fuel burning at high spatial and temporal resolution. One of the tools in tackling climate change has been the European Trading Scheme. Besides the carbon market created by this system, carbon market intelligence has emerged. Carbon market intelligence is now a key part of the carbon-finance market, and is addressed by an emerging sector that aims at delivering the information required for the effective sale or purchase of carbon-based credits or other financial instruments (Maslin and Poessinouw, 2012). This study estimates carbon monitoring alone as a market being worth 4565 million euros in 2010-2011. ICOS will contribute by making the required data available to assess the aggregate emissions in Europe, and by providing a backbone network on which national or urban networks can rely for metrology and interoperability.

As a European research infrastructure, ICOS is designed to address the needs of scientists in Europe as well as globally. Currently, ICOS gather specialists from Europe and the US to engage in discussions on common issues related to its design. In the future, engagement of the scientific user community as well as policy-makers will be the key to success as clearly identified during the project. As a concrete example, the construction of the Ecosystem part of the ICOS infrastructure in France has created a continuous dynamics grouping research institutions (institutes, universities, public agencies), 3 Ministers (Research, Ecology and Agriculture and Forests) and a number of corporate companies, SMEs, private entities and public agencies (Regions, Department, Cities) as well as partners in Education (Rectorat, Académies, Schools, and High Schools). In Spain, for example, ICOS research has supported has been used by the ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) and its “Oficina Española del Cambio Climático” in developing climate change policies and strategies to mitigate/adapt to climate change. Overall ICOS will enable better scientific and industrial research, and will directly strengthen the European Research Area.

ICOS will also inform EU citizens by providing a suite of openly-available elaborated products, helping the general public to have access to reliable information on greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and to the distribution of sources and sinks of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

It is hoped that the work provided for in ICOS will improve the societal work on mitigating of and adaptation to climate change by provide independent emission estimates that can be used for the verification of bottom-up emission inventories. The results will also be synthesised and used in monitoring and evaluation of carbon accounting for national inventories, LULUFC and the Kyoto flexible mechanisms.


TNS Opinion & Social, 2011. Special Eurobarometer 372 CLIMATE CHANGE

M. Maslin and M. Poessinouw (2012). Emergence of the carbon-market intelligence sector. Nature Climate Change. doi:10.1038/nclimate1492

List of Websites:

The address of the project website is It has been operational since April

2008. Beneficiaries can find all legal documents and documents relating to media relations on the website, some areas are password protected for confidentiality.

The website underwent a new and better organization in 2010 such that registered users now have access to all documents pertaining to their user group visible on one page. This has eliminated searching on the site for documents that could be accessed. A web statistics tool has been in place since July 2009 shows approximately 2.5 million hits. From the main ICOS website, a menu provides access to national ICOS websites for the different countries partners. Links to these websites, still under development, are active. The general public also has the opportunity to follow ICOS news, review different employment opportunities within the ICOS network, obtain pertinent publications, and download copyrighted photos and other dissemination/outreach materials and link into the ICOS professional community by subscribing to Linkedin.