ICOS is a pan-European Research Infrastructure that provides harmonized, long-term, and high-precision observation data on the carbon cycle and the complex interactions behind atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) variations. Through the joint effort of 12 European countries, ICOS delivers a significant contribution to the need for best available scientific data expressed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
ICOS sustains a network of more than 100 stations, including atmospheric and ecosystem stations across Europe, as well as marine stations (fixed or on ships) covering the North Atlantic and European marginal seas. They measure the concentrations of the main GHG (CO2, CH4, CO and radiocarbon-CO2) in the atmosphere, the flux and heat exchange between atmosphere, ecosystems and oceans, together with other essential variables (acidity, temperature, salinity…).
All ICOS data is openly available at the Carbon Portal which is the one-stop-shop for all ICOS products and services. The data, generated by state-of-the art, standardized instruments, are processed into a single and coherent set. Through a transparent and quality-based processing, the data is made easily available to researchers and all interested stakeholders, such as citizens, decision-makers and media.
The European Commission established ICOS as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) in November 2015. Its members are Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.