Photo: Kim Pilegaard

Europe monitors greenhouse gases

Tuesday 09 Jan 18

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Kim Pilegaard
Professor
DTU Environment
+45 45 25 21 58
With more than 100 measuring stations in 12 EU member countries, a network of European researchers collect data on three primary greenhouse gases.

Right in the middle of a forest near Sorø on Zealand is a measuring station operated by DTU Environment.

The instruments at the top of the 45-metre mast register the atmospheric content of CO2 10 times per second. The 'Sorø' measuring station is one of the more than 100 measuring stations included in the pan-European collaboration project ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System). Under this project, DTU Environment collects data on the greenhouse gases CO2, N2O (nitrious oxide (laughing gas)), and CH4 (methane) together with researchers from 12 EU member countries.

Photo: Kim Pilegaard

The measuring stations are located in highly different regions and landscapes—on land and at sea—partly to obtain the best possible knowledge of the amount of greenhouse gases, and partly to gain better insight into nature’s role in relation to absorption and circulation of the gases.

The first collected data will be published on the online portal ICOS Carbon Portal at the end of 2017. The intention is to give public authorities and research environments access to facts on the three greenhouse gases as well as knowledge about ecosystem interaction with greenhouse gases. Knowledge that can contribute to predicting the effect of climate change.

The 'Sorø' measuring station has existed for 20 years, but has been part of the ICOS project since 2016. Data from 'Sorø' have shown, among other findings, that CO2 absorption by the forest has increased in the past 20 years. Just over half of the absorption can be explained by the fact that the growing season of the trees—i.e. the period in which the leaves of the trees are green—has become approximately two weeks longer in this forest than it was 20 years ago. The extended growing season is primarily due to a warmer climate and increased summer precipitation.

The 'Sorø' measuring station was blown down in a storm in December 2013. The pictures are from 2014, when the station was rebuilt.

Photos: Kim Pilegaard

 

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23 OCTOBER 2018