The Central Analytical Laboratories are responsible for providing calibration gases for the ICOS atmospheric station networks and analysis of flask samples for the entire network for components that are not measured continuously at the stations (such as O2/N2 ratios, stable isotope ratios of CO2or radiocarbon (14C) for estimates of fossil fuel CO2).
The CAL activities include the operation of a central Flask and Calibration Laboratory (FCL) and a Central Radiocarbon Laboratory (CRL) for the analysis of 14CO2 samples. The processing of the in-situ atmospheric measurements at the ATC is based on the raw data gathered from the stations and on the calibration information provided (and regularly updated) by the FCL.
An additional responsibility of the Central Radiocarbon Laboratory is the provision of specific sampling equipment to the ICOS atmospheric stations for routine measurement of integrated air samples as well as the development of improved methodologies to determine fossil fuel CO2 in the ICOS National Networks.
CAL is operated in Germany by two partner organisations, Institut für Umweltphysik, Heidelberg University and Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena.