Understanding climate
for the benefit of society

From the left: Aina M. Berg, Managing Director, Uni Research, Prof. Anne Lise Fimreite, Pro-rector of the University of Bergen and Prof. Truls Johannessen, Director of ICOS OTC. Photo: Gudrun Sylte

Kick-off for ICOS Norway and OTC

ICOS Norway and the Ocean Thematic Centre are now officially started, as part of the large European network for greenhouse gas monitoring.


ICOS Norway and the Ocean Thematic Centre are now officially started, as part of the large European network for greenhouse gas monitoring.

ICOS Norway and the Ocean Thematic Centre was opened at a ceremony in the University Aula in Bergen. ICOS Norway is the Norwegian branch of the European research infrastructure ICOS RI with one of the central facility Ocean Thematic Centre (OTC) located in Bergen, Norway, hosted by Uni Research in collaboration with the University of Bergen joint in the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK.

The Research Council of Norway has rewarded a generous grant to upgrade the Norwegian research infrastructure for observing carbon uptake in the ocean, on land and in the atmosphere, and to establish and coordinate OTC on a European scale. The main objective of ICOS is to produce high quality data and to provide a network design that can assess to the GHG emission on a country level and confirm if COP21 agreements are meet by the individual countries.

– ICOS Norway and the OTC will provide valuable information for policy makers, the research community and society to consider. But the ICOS Norway and the OTC is also strategically of great significance for climate research in Bergen, Aina Berg, Managing Director at Uni Research says.


Harvesting after a long time of hard work

– Finally the ICOS Norway and the OTC became reality, we started to work on this in 2008 and finally we can harvest the seed from our focused and dedicated work, a professor Truls Johannessen, the happy director of the Ocean Thematic Centre says.

ICOS – the Integrated Carbon Observing System – is  a European monitoring network for  greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, on land and in the ocean. Norway contributes with two atmospheric stations, one terrestric station and four stations for marine observations, and the Ocean Thematic Centre (OTC), were the marine data from the European observational stations will be analysed, quality controlled and a consistent measurement system will be developed.

Data from the ICOS measurements will be available via the ICOS Carbon Portal

See also: Bergen confirmed as a "blue research city"

The ICOS network include measurements in the atmosphere, on land and in the oceans, were observational stations are scattered throughout Europe. Atmospheric measurements are analysed in France, the land-based thematic centres are based in Italy and Belgium, while the marine data will be analysed in the new Ocean Thematic Center (OTC) in Norway and UK.  

The network was established to secure a sustained greenhous gas observation system. Despite a huge amount of research and data on greenhouse gases, the data have often been scattered and difficult to reach and to access.

- As we have learnt today the relevance of biogeochemistry research and thus of ICOS is higher than ever. The importance of narrowing down the uncertainties in the global carbon budget, in present and future climate, connot be exaggerated. And with the adoption of the Paris Agreement, monitoring and understanding of carbon fluxes are more important than ever before, Prof. Tore Furevik, Director of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research noted in the closing remarks in the University Aula. 

At the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research the biogeochemistry group of researchers has been growing fast, and now counts more than 30 members. 

- They are stadily publishing in high impact journals, make important contributions to international efforts such as the Global Carbon Project, Global Ocean Data Analysis Project and the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas. Also measured in terms of funding from the research council and EU, it is a very strong and healthy group, Furevik said. 

ICOS Norway includes researchers at CICERO, NIVA, SKOG og LANDSKAP and BIOFORSK, together with researchers from all four partners at the Bjerknes Centre.