Established in 2008, ICOS RI (Integrated Carbon Observation System) is a European research infrastructure that aims to provide accessible, high-quality data to improve our understanding of greenhouse gas emissions and removals. The infrastructure consists of several station networks in 13 countries, with a total of more than 150 stations and the involvement of hundreds of scientists and researchers.
ICOS is an infrastructure that promotes technological development and measurements related to greenhouse gases by connecting research, education and innovation. By providing high-precision data, it supports policy decision-making to combat climate change and its impacts.
It is a research infrastructure arising from the important idea of the European scientific community to have an operational network of consistent and sustained measurements based on exactly the same scientific and technical standards to facilitate high quality climate change research and increase the use of the data produced.
ICOS brings together national research and measurement stations at the European level and, through coordination and support, constitutes a large-scale infrastructure at the service of researchers and society.
The data produced by ICOS help understand the Atmosphere-Earth-Ocean system and its response to climate change and other environmental challenges, produce scientific knowledge that leads towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the European Union's Societal Challenges, in particular those related to climate change.
The ICOS Italy Network consists of 17 stations, of which 10 for the terrestrial ecosystem, 4 for the ocean and 3 for the atmosphere. In addition, ICOS Italy, together with ICOS Belgium and France, hosts the Ecosystem Thematic Centre (ETC).
ICOS Italy is coordinated by the Joint Research Unit (JRU), a collaboration of 15 Italian institutions, including OGS, CNR, universities, research institutes and others.
OGS manages two of the four marine stations: Miramare, in the Gulf of Trieste, and E2M3A, in the centre of the South Adriatic. These sites are relevant for understanding the role played by the Adriatic Sea in absorbing atmospheric CO2 and transporting it to deep waters. This phenomenon depends mainly on the extent of water and wind cooling in the winter period, primary production and respiration processes by organisms, and fertilisation in the photic zone due to nutrient inputs. These sites are also important for studying long-term changes, leading for example to a decrease in pH in the seas, a process known as ocean acidification.