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Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of integrated Global Observations

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - RINGO (Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of integrated Global Observations)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

The Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) is a distributed European-wide research infrastructure (RI) producing high-precision data on greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and on carbon fluxes between the atmosphere, the earth and oceans.
ICOS provides data for the science to understand the Earth system. Scientific knowledge on carbon emissions, sinks and trends advances the fulfilment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts) and EU Societal Challenges (Climate Action - Informed decisions for a climate-resilient low-carbon society). ICOS’ mission to understand the carbon cycle and to provide necessary information on greenhouse gases places ICOS into a framework of international climate activities. Knowledge generated on the use of ICOS data supports efforts to comply with the Paris Agreement resolutions within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). ICOS responds to the international goal to establish global standards for observations as well as open, accessible and interoperable data in order to ensure optimal services for societies in their efforts to mitigate climate change. ICOS is directly responding to the “Essential Climate Variables” (ECVs) developed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with strong inputs by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). The ECVs are documented in the Implementation Plan of the Global Climate Observation System (GCOS).
ICOS is a new RI under development at European level, identified in the ESFRI roadmap 2006. It is finalizing its implementation phase, becoming stepwise operational with the first data of labelled stations becoming available. This initial phase is the most difficult one for new pan-European infrastructures as financial sustainability must be proved and the trust of users earned, as the call INFRADEV-03-2016-2017 describes. The H2020 project “Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of integrated Global Observations” (RINGO) has come in time for ICOS, which has achieved the ERIC status in November 2015 and the Landmark status at the ESFRI Roadmap 2016.
ICOS has revised its strategy and prepared a 5-year action plan (2020 – 2024). RINGO enables these processes by unlocking resources for fulfilling these objectives:
1. Scientific readiness. To support the further consolidation of the observational networks and enhance their quality.
2. Geographical readiness. To enhance ICOS membership and sustainability by supporting interested countries to build a national consortium, to promote ICOS towards the national stakeholders, to receive consultancy e.g. on possibilities to use EU structural fund to build the infrastructure for ICOS observations and also to receive training to improve the readiness of the scientists to work inside ICOS:
3. Technological readiness. To further develop and standardize technologies for greenhouse gas observations necessary to foster new knowledge demands and to account for and contribute to technological advances.
4. Data readiness. To improve data streams towards different user groups, adapting to the developing and dynamic (web) standards.
5. Political and administrative readiness. To deepen the global cooperation of observational infrastructures and with that the common societal impact.
With these objectives, RINGO will have a high impact on the future success of ICOS.
During the first 18 months the project has been ramped up and first results provided. An important result is the impact analysis that has been performed during the first half of 2018 and will be presented at the International Conference on Research Infrastructures at Vienna in September 2018.
The first results related to technical innovation include a RINGO-related campaign for air-core measurements at the Finnish ICOS site Sodankylä. The instrumentation for atmospheric measurements on ships has been compiled. Unmanned vehicles with ICOS Ocean instrumentation have been further developed. The ecosystem community has pushed forward the standardization of methane and N2O flux measurements and a concept to prepare access to ICOS sites for co-location with other RIs.

During the second reporting period of the RINGO project (1.7.2018 – 31.12.2019) the following progres has been made:

Scientific readiness. RINGO activities and deliverables had large impact on the ICOS science. In particular, activities in WPs 1 (Deliverables D1.1 and 1.4) and 4 (Deliverable 4.2) supported ICOS-related science. The work on pre-ICOS data in Task 4.2 has been integrated into a larger initiative coordinated by ICOS that analysed the drought during the year 2018 compared to long-term data. In this context, a long-term pre-ICOS data set with highest quality as prepared through RINGO has been very supportive.

Data readiness. Activities performed in WPs 4 and 5. Particularly, the work on the ICOS data type-registry and unified meta-data base in Task 4.1 which also increases the cross-domain interoperability of ICOS data and the deliverable D5.1 (GLODAP and SOCAT services) have been important steps forward here.

Geographical readiness. The most important result here are deliverable 2.1 which includes the ICOS Handbook and the fact that three of the supported countries (Spain, Poland, and Estonia) are close to become members of ICOS ERIC. Training events for potential ICOS members to be fully in line with ICOS technical and scientific standards were continued.

Political and administrative readiness. Activities performed in WPs 1, 2 and 5. The most important result of the second reporting period is deliverable D1.1 which has integrated the entire strategic management of ICOS by providing a systematic management approach the includes strategy-derived activities as well as monitoring of performance and impact.

Technological readiness. This objective is mainly supported by ongoing work in WP 3.
ICOS wants to improve its impact by implementing the FAIR principles for its entire data life cycle. The main work for that will be conducted in close cooperation with other RIs in the ENVRIplus and the recently accepted ENVRIfair proposals. An important sub-process is conducted within the RINGO framework since it is targeting beyond the European RIs to an operational global GHG information system: the standardized cataloging of metadata will ease the access to ICOS data and improve their usage. The re-processing and re-analysis of pre-ICOS data will increase the value of the actual ICOS data as they can be interpreted in a historical context.
All mentioned activities will support the position of ICOS in the global GHG observation system. ICOS is becoming a blueprint for a regional research infrastructure. RINGO is further improving ICOS’ connection to global data initiatives (e.g. Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), FLUXNET, SOCAt and GLODAP) and successfully supporting the liaison with UNFCCC, WMO and GEO.
RINGO has a high impact on the internal integration of ICOS. The inclusion of the host institutions of the ICOS National Networks and Central Facilities has improved the internal cooperation and supported the cooperative spirit within the RI, and fostered the capabilities of ICOS ERIC to coordinate the distributed research infrastructure.
ICOS Pallas Sammaltunturi station in Lapland, Finland. Copyright ICOS, photo by Konsta Punkka.