The atmosphere component of ICOS-D

The aim of the atmosphere component of ICOS-D is to measure greenhouse gas fluxes in Germany with high spatial and temporal resolution. For this purpose, a network of nine observation stations at high towers and measuring masts (up to 340 m) is being constructed to ensure the long-term provision of data that meet the stringent ICOS RI and GAW quality requirements at high temporal resolution. These will be the backbone for the inverse (top-down) models used to estimate regional greenhouse gas budgets and produce monthly greenhouse gas accounts with a spatial resolution of 0.1° x 0.1°.  

In order to meet these objectives, the atmosphere component of ICOS-D will provide:

  • six class 1 stations and three class 2 stations (compared to class 2, class 1 additionally includes sampling for analysis in the central analytical laboratories of ICOS (CAL));
  • online measurement of the greenhouse gases CO2, CH4, CO and N2O and various meteorological parameters at three to five heights;
  • installation in class 1 stations of additional special sampling devices for the analysis of carbon isotopes (14C and 13C) and other greenhouse gases in the CAL;
  • a quality management system with maintenance plans, quality control procedures and (semi)automated data flows.

The measuring network needs to be of a certain density in order to fully map at high resolution the greenhouse gas fluxes for Germany against the backdrop of the complex distribution of emissions and sinks in vegetation and agricultural land here. In addition to the 'most prominent' greenhouse gases CO2 and CH4, N2O is another important greenhouse gas that needs to be measured. Radon and CO are used in modelling as tracers for vertical mixing as well as for anthropogenic emissions; in combination with other parameters (isotopes, trace gases and meteorological data), they serve to categorise greenhouse gas fluxes spatially and temporally.