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The global emissions of greenhouse gases by human activities have been accelerating continuously since the industrial revolution, making the atmospheric concentration in CO2 exceeding 400ppm in 2017. Maintaining the elevation of the global mean temperature below +2°C, as the parties of the Paris conference commit themselves, implies a reduction in anthropogenic  greenhouse gases emissions by 40 to 70%. An accurate monitoring of the greenhouse gas balance at the global level is urgently needed in order to measure and verify the impacts of policy reduction on the earth climate system.

The ICOS Research Infrastructure is the result of a coordinated action of the scientific community to face this challenge. ICOS includes monitoring networks of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, oceans and continents, more specifically the carbon dioxide (ecosystems, fossil fuels, cement industry), methane (cattle, natural gas, agriculture) and nitrous oxide (agriculture, fossil fuels, fires).

ICOS includes more than 500 scientists from 17 European countries: it is a key component of the European Roadmap of Research infrastructure and a Super Large Research Instrument (Très Grand Instrument de Recherche – TGIR) of the French national research agenda.


Zoom on the Phenobs project

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The Phénobs project is a Labex CEBA project. One of the central objectives of the project is to use this type of data acquired repeatedly over time to quantify variations in density and age of foliage. These variations are very difficult to measure in dense evergreen forest, and could explain the seasonal cycles of vegetation indices detected by satellite and gas exchanges with the atmosphere seen by the flow towers.

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Comparative temporal analysis of CO2 flows between 5 French stations of the ICOS Ecosystem network

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We assembled homogenized long-term time series, up to 19 years, of measurements of net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE) and its partitioning between gross primary production (GPP) and respiration (Reco) for five different ecosystems representing the main plant functional types (PFTs) in France. Part of these data was analyzed to determine the influence of the main environmental variables on carbon fluxes between temperate ecosystems and the atmosphere, and to investigate the temporal patterns of their variations. A multi-temporal statistical analysis of the time series was conducted using random forest (RF) and wavelet coherence approaches.

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