ICOS supports science and policy development – the first full article describing ICOS has been published


More reliable, faster results

Through established processes leading to harmonized ICOS data at a rapid pace, as well as integration across research disciplines, the scientific community can identify existing knowledge gaps and produce thematic research and results, at a much faster pace than the scientific world. has already seen. The article specifically mentions the Drought Research Initiative 2018, in which more than 200 scientists worked together to study the effects of the unusually dry spring and summer of 2018, and produced 17 peer-reviewed papers. in a high-level journal (Special issuecall_made in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B). Mana Gharun, postdoctoral researcher in Nina Buchmann’s group, led one of them. The team showed that the CO2 The absorption capacity of two Swiss forests was severely reduced during the 2018 drought, with more severe effects at low altitudes than at high altitudes. In total, as part of the Drought Research Initiative 2018, these 17 papers were published within two years of the original measurements. This is a good illustration of the enormous scientific progress and the societal benefits of a well-connected scientific community and high-quality data freely available a few months after the measurements.

Major scientific questions and a look to the future

The article raises a number of particularly important scientific questions in the field. Due to the growing urgency of climate change, many of these issues are linked to policy frameworks such as the Paris Agreement or the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For example, ICOS is involved in providing important background information to a planned EU monitoring and verification support system for greenhouse gas emissions. In this context, the radiocarbon methodology is used to quantify emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, since carbon dioxide from fossil fuel sources is devoid of the radioactive isotope of carbon, 14vs.

Further research is needed on the lateral fluxes of carbon from land to the oceans, which currently can only be quantified with great uncertainty. Indeed, while ICOS has taken some initial steps to build capacity to quantify these flows as well, much remains to be done.

Additionally, the authors state that more precise observations are needed in urban areas, as these densely populated areas are fossil fuel emission hotspots and growing steadily. The success of the emission reductions will first be visible there. ICOS is meeting this challenge by launching a new European project “ICOS Cities – Pilot Applications in Urban Landscapes”. Two Swiss cities, Zurich and Basel, are part of the ICOS Cities project, with ICOS Switzerland partners from Empa and the University of Basel. An urban station in Basel will soon be added to the Swiss stations within ICOS.

“With ICOS Cities, we aim to test different observation methods, by designing and building pilot urban observatories. We want to test and present different tools and services to process and analyze these observations, and do everything in a way that meets the needs of cities and helps them achieve their climate action plans ”, said Werner Kutsch, Managing Director of ICOS, and the project coordinator.

On a larger scale, the article mentions the development of a European carbon and greenhouse gas budget, which has so far only been possible with a considerable one-off effort. Soon it could be produced annually, at high spatial resolution and with reduced uncertainty. This type of product would clearly benefit political actors in deciding the most feasible climate actions.

In conclusion, there are several urgent developments in the field of carbon science: how to detect the effects of climate change on terrestrial and ocean sinks, how to best support the verification of national and local GHG inventories, and how to validate the effectiveness of mitigation Actions.

The ICOS article is published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) call_made.

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