Blogit 8.6.2016

Knowledge through observations – the European Research Infrastructure ICOS is becoming operational

It came right in time: a few days before the COP 21 started in Paris, the ‘Integrated Carbon Observation System’ was officially implemented as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ICOS ERIC) by the European Commission.

ICOS is strongly supporting science on greenhouse gases and we are ready to provide data and knowledge on the Grand Challenge to mitigate climate change. And we are ready to put this into a global context, because one result from the COP 21 is very obvious: The world will ask for a global observation system on greenhouse gases that will provide more knowledge than just monitoring the increase of GHG in the atmosphere. Building ICOS as a long-term research infrastructure shows the strong European role in these efforts. It also shows the strength of a community that has worked for more than a decade to make ICOS happen.

ICOS will consist of three observational networks supported by two central laboratories and data providing Carbon Portal that are currently becoming operational. These long-term networks of stations will provide knowledge on the greenhouse gas distribution in the atmosphere and the exchange of greenhouse gases with land and oceans. This information is crucial to understand how much and how long GHG remain in the atmosphere and how feedbacks of the Earth System due to climate change will influence their turnover. Changes have to be detected quickly because they may result in changed societal costs for mitigation and adaptation.

ICOS ERIC is hosted by Finland with the Head Office based in Helsinki. ICOS is very pleased to be sharing Dynamicum building at the Kumpula Campus with University of Helsinki and Finnish Meteorological Institute, the fact that also symbolizes the close cooperation between these three organizations.