Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) is a European Research Infrastructure for quantifying and understanding of the greenhouse gas balance of the European continent and of adjacent regions. The preparatory phase of ICOS started in 2008. The operational phase started in 2013 and continues until 2031. ICOS-EU head office is located in Finland and hosted together with France.
The mission of ICOS is to provide the long-term atmospheric and flux observations required to understand the present state and predict future behaviour of the global carbon cycle and greenhouse gas emissions to monitor and assess the effectiveness of carbon sequestration or greenhouse gases emission reduction activities on global atmospheric composition levels, including attribution of sources and sinks by region and sector set new standards for research instrumentation, measuring protocols and data processing ICOS consists of national measuring stations, thematic centres focused on different aspects of atmospheric, ecosystem and aquatic studies and the top level organisation, ICOS-EU, which is coordinating the infrastructure.
The role of ICOS Finland
The special mission for the ICOS Finland is to study the sinks and sources of greenhouse gases for typical boreal ecosystems. The focus is on coniferous forests, wetlands and the Baltic Sea.
The Finnish partnership brings several advantages and added value for ICOS in expertise and areal coverage. The Finnish sites represent the boreal and sub-arctic Eurasian environments with both east-west and south-north transitions in eco-climatic features.
Atmospheric research is national priority research area in Finland. Large infrastructures in Finland for atmospheric research are in the forefront of research and technical development. The ICOS studies are closely linked with other trace gases and atmospheric aerosols.
The Finnish partners are participating actively in several international monitoring and research projects and infrastructures, such as WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the Co-operative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmissions of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP) as well as IMECC, GEOmon, FLUXNET and CARBOEUROPE networks, to mention few.
Finnish partners are highly experienced in coordinating international and national research activities. For example, the international project office of IGBP-iLEAPS (Integrated Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Processes Study) and EUCAARI is located at the University of Helsinki, Department of Physics. University of Helsinki is also involved in coordinating the Nordic Centres of Excellences (BACCI, NECC, CRAICC) and Nordic Graduate School CBACCI.