Integrated Carbon Observation System | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

Integrated Carbon Observation System

ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) is a European research infrastructure which monitors the greenhouse gas balance of the European continent and adjacent regions. Accurate measurement of the greenhouse gas balance will contribute to a better understanding of global climate change and its possible impact on ecosystems. VLIZ and OD Nature take care of the marine component of ICOS Belgium.

ICOS is a European monitoring network consisting of a large number of observation systems for measuring greenhouse gasses. The observation systems are spread across Europe and consist of three major components: an atmospheric component with high measurement towers, an ecosystem component with measurement towers that observe fluxes and a marine component with observation systems on ships and buoys.
Through these observation systems, ICOS aims to provide long-term data required to better understand the current situation as well as the future behaviour of the global carbon cycle and greenhouse gas emissions. These data will also shed light on the factors that control the changing atmospheric composition in greenhouse gases.

In Belgium the ecosystem component is monitored by the University of Antwerp (Plant and Vegetation Ecology research group), the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) and the Universtity of Liège (Unit of Biosystem Physics). VLIZ and OD Nature take care of the marine component. VLIZ deploys for this purpose the research vessel Simon Stevin and the Thornton measuring buoy. As well at the disposal of the scientists are: the in-situ methane sensor and the analysis equipment in the chemical lab that was built at the Marine Station Ostend in the framework of ICOS.  OD Nature puts into action the RV Belgica as official measuring station for ICOS.

ICOS is part of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).

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