Standardized greenhouse gas measurement helps to predict and mitigate climate change
Regional greenhouse gas measurements are critical to understand the development of climate change. The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increases fast. This, in turn, means more heat is constantly being trapped in the atmosphere, warming it further.
ICOS measures greenhouse gases in an extensive network of over 130 stations all over Europe to produce science-based information for both the scientific community and for decision makers. ICOS Sweden covers six ecosystem stations, three atmospheric stations and one marine station, from Abisko in the north to Skåne in the south. Two of these atmospheric and ecosystem stations, Norunda and Hyltemossa, are maintained by Lund University and the CEC.
After more than five years, the Norunda ecosystem station and additional 14 ICOS stations are now joining the ranks of altogether 32 certified ICOS stations. The standards fulfil all international criteria, for example, the ones set by the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations. The atmospheric station in Norunda and the atmospheric and ecosystem station in Hyltemossa were granted this certification earlier this year.
“Standardization of measuring methods is critical for the data coming to use, to be able to compare data from different ecosystems and climate regions. This certification means that the stations have been controlled to fulfil all necessary requirements,” says Dr Maj-Lena Linderson, Coordinating Director at ICOS Sweden.
Natural carbon fluxes affect the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as much as human emissions and may themselves be altered by climate change. In the long-term, it is important to be able to distinguish between natural and fossil fuel emissions to be able to efficiently direct mitigation and adaptation efforts.
“The greenhouse gas information gathered from all over Europe is essential for national governments to improve their mitigation activities, and also for inter-governmental organisations to make informed decisions when they seek ways to fulfil the requirements set by international agreements,” says Dr Werner Kutsch, Director General at ICOS. The Paris Agreement and the UN COP24 negotiations in Poland are examples of such decisions and agreements.
The stations now receiving their certificate are located in Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Italy and a Norwegian research vessel cruising the North Atlantic Ocean.