ICOS Research Infrastructure

In ICOS Research Infrastructure an extensive network of standardized and integrated national atmospheric, ecosystem and marine stations, supported by ICOS Central Facilities and ICOS Carbon Portal, form the basis for advanced carbon cycle research in Europe

Integrated Carbon Observation System Research Infrastructure (ICOS RI) integrates atmosphere, ecosystem and ocean greenhouse gas observations to provide timely and reliable data for research, policy making, and the general public. ICOS RI brings together high quality European national research communities and measurement stations and, through coordination and support, constitutes a European-wide research infrastructure that serves both scientists and society.

ICOS RI consists of a number of researchers and measurement stations, governance bodies and a carbon data portal, collaborating across Europe.

ICOS National Networks form the backbone of ICOS RI

ICOS RI has more than 100 measurement stations in twelve European countries. These stations measure greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and fluxes over the terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The ICOS stations are run and funded by national funding agencies, institutes and universities, demonstrating an impressive joint effort to enable climate change research.

At the moment ICOS Research Infrastructure has more than 100 stations in 12 European countries. The current ICOS Atmosphere and Ecosystem Networks include more than 30 atmospheric and around 70 ecosystem stations located across Europe. The ICOS Ocean Network covers the North Atlantic and European marginal seas. The Ocean Observation System will consist of more than 20 facilities: Voluntary Observatory Ships, fixed stations and research vessels.

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ICOS station map (large version)

Monitoring Station Assemblies

Monitoring Station Assemblies (MSAs) for the Atmosphere, Ecosystem and Ocean Station Networks consist of Station Principal Investigators (PIs) of the ICOS National Networks. The MSAs monitor, develop and improve the scientific and technical basis of the ICOS RI. The MSAs usually meet twice a year and they work closely with the ICOS Central Facilities.

ICOS Central Facilities coordinate the data from Station Networks

Measurements on the greenhouse gases concentrations in each atmospheric, ecosystem and ocean station within the ICOS Station Network is transferred to and centralised in the ICOS Atmosphere, Ecosystem and Ocean Thematic Centres (ATC, ETC and OTC), which are coordinated by the ICOS Central Facilities (CFs). The CFs and the ICOS Central Analytical Laboratories (also coordinated by the CFs), ensure that highly standardised and coordinated data is maintained and respected. The CFs ensure that all data are treated and quality controlled with the same algorithms and properly archived for the long term.

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ICOS ERIC coordinates ICOS RI

ICOS ERIC Head Office
ICOS ERIC Head Office

ICOS RI is coordinated by the legal entity of ICOS ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium). ICOS ERIC was established by the decision of the European Commission on 23 November 2015, with the statutory seat in Finland. The principal task of ICOS ERIC is to coordinate the operations of ICOS RI, distribute information from ICOS RI to user communities and to provide integrated data and analysis from greenhouse gas observation systems.

ICOS ERIC Head Office, located in Helsinki, Finland, manages the legal entity of ICOS ERIC. The Head Office promotes network extension to new countries in cooperation with the ICOS Central Facilities and Focal Points of the ICOS National Networks. ICOS ERIC Head Office supports the scientific and technological developments in ICOS RI and facilitates the outreach, training, and mobility of participants. Contact the ICOS ERIC Head Office.


General Assembly

The General Assembly is the governing and decision-making body of ICOS ERIC. It is composed of representatives of the Member and Observer countries of ICOS ERIC. Jean-Marie Flaud is the current Chair of the ICOS ERIC General Assembly.

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Director General

The Director General, appointed by the General Assembly, is the legal representative of ICOS ERIC. The Director General carries out the day-to-day management of ICOS ERIC and is responsible for the implementation of the decisions by the General Assembly, as well as overseeing and coordinating the activities of ICOS RI. Werner Kutsch is the current Director General of ICOS ERIC.

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ICOS RI Committee

The ICOS Research Infrastructure Committee (ICOS RI Committee) is a key advisory body in ICOS RI that supports the Director General in all matters relevant to the coordination and management of ICOS RI. ICOS RI Committee consists of representatives from the Head Office, Carbon Portal, each ICOS Central Facility and each Monitoring Station Assembly. The committee is chaired by the Director General.


Scientific Advisory Board monitors the scientific quality of ICOS RI

The ICOS Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) monitors the scientific quality of ICOS RI, gives feedback on and makes recommendations for the development of ICOS RI activities, and advises ICOS ERIC with the objective of achieving the scientific goals of ICOS RI. It also provides programmatic support by commenting on the overall science plans and directions, and analyses the output of ICOS RI.


Current ICOS Scientific Advisory Board members (2016-2017):

Anna Michalak, Chair Beverly E. Law, Co-Chair
James Butler
Markus Reichstein
Rik Wanninkhof


Carbon Portal – the home for ICOS Data Products in ICOS RI

The ICOS Carbon Portal, an operative unit of ICOS ERIC, offers free access to ICOS RI data on greenhouse gases observations from the ICOS Station Networks, as well as easily accessible and understandable science and education products. The system design for Carbon Portal management, databases, web services and elaborated products is carried out by the system architect in a dialogue with both internal and external scientists. Dedicated researchers from all over the world will contribute to the elaborated products catalogue.

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ICOS CP tree logo