The 2nd ICOS Science Conference
on greenhouse gases and biogeochemical cycles
(27-29 September 2016)


The conference was structured around five Themes:



From local to global scalesRelevance of regions and hotspots on greenhouse gas cycles (Theme 1) 

Conveners: Samuel Hammer, Bert Gielen, Greet Maenhout, Are Olsen 

  • Regional GHG budgets 

  • Emission or uptake hotspots 

  • High resolution modelling 

  • Emission inventories and disaggregation 

Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration trends are the net result of a complex interplay between human actions and earth system response to climate change. The impact of human emissions or emission reductions and the modified strength of natural sources and sinks  are expected to be most distinct on regional to local scales. For example, emission reduction strategies are not only decided at international and national levels, but also local initiatives start emerging. Likewise, the strength of the ocean CO2 sink is tied to regional variations in biology and circulation, and the ecosystem responds strongly to the applied management strategy and the magnitude of CH4 and N2O emissions. Regional- and mesoscale models have the capability of integrating such processes also across the domains. However, the modelling depends thereby critically on the current process understanding and on reliable input fields e.g. from robust statistics. 

This session aims at bringing together regional and local greenhouse gas studies in the oceans, on the land surface and in the atmosphere, or across all three domains, as well as new improvements regarding model input fields. We welcome in this session contributions based on conceptual, experimental, observational or modelling approaches. 



Long time series, experiments and modelling (Theme 2)

Conveners: Alex Vermeulen, Denis LoustauThanos Gkritzalis 

  • Atmospheric composition (e.g. CO2, O3, N and S deposition)      

  • Drifts in key meteorological variables: temperature, diffuse/direct light ratio, precipitations, air vapour pressure deficit 

  • Extreme events : immediate and delayed effect on atmosphere-vegetation interactions 

Long-term and consistent observations are key to improve our understanding of the climate system and the greenhouse gas balance at all spatial scales. Despite continuous progress in modelling and real-world experiments, in-situ observations (e.g., CO2, O3, N and S depositionmeteorological variables or biological responses) will be vital for providing long-term and consistent data series documenting the greenhouse gases cycles as well as the radiative and energy balances of the continental surfaceInterannual variability in the Earth System is driven by chaotic fluctuations in weather and complex feedback mechanisms. This variability can hide long term trends, but also slower drifts or responses to already occurring climate change, e. g.  phenological drifts or CO2 fertilisation effects. In this session, we welcome contributions that show how long time series help our understanding of the Earth System and how they can be combined with experiments and models to improve the predictability of the future climate. 



New development in observation techniques and new scientific questions (Theme 3)

Conveners: Truls Johannessen, Dario PapaleJost V. Lavric 

  • Vertical profile measurements of GHGs 

  • FTIR-Satellite measurements and links 

  • Isotope concentration and fluxes 

  • Eddy covariance measurements of new GHGs and particles (reactive nitrogen, O3, aerosols) 

  • Autonomous sensor networks  


Research infrastructures, including ICOS, will have to adapt and update their methodologies according to the needs from the scientific communities and to the new technologies developed. New gas species to monitor, new methods to measure, process and use the data, and new strategies in the design of observational networks are proposed and tested continuously. ICOS and other RIs need to adapt their development in order to be ready for the implementation of the most relevant and mature changes. In this session, we welcome contributions to present new observation techniques (new methods, new sensors, new links among sensors, etc.) and new scientific questions that would require changes and updates in the observation RIs. 



After COP21:  Challenges towards globally integrated observations and independent evaluation (Theme 4)

Conveners: Jean-Daniel Paris, Ute Schuster, Christoph Gerbig 

  • Global observation systems / verification system 

  • ICOS knowledge to improve inventories 

  • What are expectations from policy and society (IPCC, UNFCCC, SBSTA)? 

  • Connections to other RIs 


Addressing the changing climate induced by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases requires significant reduction of their emissions.  Trust in any international agreement under UNFCCC aimed at limiting global warming and providing of mitigation services will depend on our ability to make accurate estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to constrain terrestrial and ocean sources and sinks, as well as to provide robust reporting and verification against independent data and analyses. In this session, we welcome presentations addressing (1) improved future global integrated observational networks for the natural atmospheric, terrestrial and marine systems, as well as anthropogenic carbon emission inventories; (2) observational systems using statistical and/or modelling techniques; (3) how expectations of policy makers and society do influence observational networks as well as mitigation and adaptation strategies; and (4) how linking up with other research infrastructures such as ACTRIS and IAGOS  can provide increased synergies in the future. 



Communicating Climate (Theme 5)

Conveners: Gorana JerkovićEija Juurola

  • Science of science communication: How to enhance environmental science communication skills
  • Mapping complex climate science: visual tools in communication
  • Utilising new digital platforms for communicating climate change
  • Public awareness of environmental science - from ignorance to citizen science  


Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our times, so being able to clearly communicate most important research findings and solutions to a wide range of stakeholders – from academic community to global media, decision makers and general public  should be one of the most important tasks of  environmental sciences. The Communicating Climate session is therefore aimed to support more effective and impactful communication between environmental sciences and the end-users. We welcome contributions from both scientist and professional communicators in order to inspire discussion about the best tools and platforms for effective science communication.