Our mission

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Our mission is to produce standardised, high-precision and long-term observations and facilitate research to understand the carbon cycle and to provide necessary information on greenhouse gases. We promote technological developments and demonstrations related to greenhouse gases by linking research, education and innovation. With our high-precision data, we aim to support policy- and decision-making to combat climate change and its impacts.

Providing high-quality European climate data

ICOS is a research infrastructure that has been born out of European scientific communities’ grand idea of having a consistent, sustained measurement network operating under exactly the same technical and scientific standards to enable high-quality climate change research and increase usability of the research data.

We bring together the European high-quality national research and measurement stations and, through coordination and support, constitute an European-wide research infrastructure that serves both the scientists and the society.

As an European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) Landmark, we bring a valuable contribution to the European Research Area and are part of the excellent long-term science and innovation of Europe.

Supporting climate action and decision-making

ICOS data helps to give an account of the Earth system and its response to climate change and other environmental challenges. The ICOS data generate scientific knowledge, which advances the fulfilment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the European Union’s Societal Challenges, especially those concerning climate change. We actively communicate to society the science-based knowledge that is relevant to climate action and decision-making.

ICOS has been an Observer to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since December 2019. As an Observer, we help the UNFCCC to reach its goal for global consensus on actions to mitigate and to adapt to climate change as outlined in the Paris Agreement.


Watch our video on the greenhouse gases and the mission of ICOS: