ICOS Belgium network launched in Maasmechelen

27 October 2016

ICOS ERIC Director General Werner Kutsch has officially launched the ICOS Belgium network at the special event which was organized on 22nd March 2016 in Maasmechelen.

In his speech at the ICOS Belgium launch, ICOS ERIC Director General has addressed importance of tackling greenhouse gases on a global scale. "Through long-term measurements of carbon and greenhouse gases in Europe, the ICOS research infrastructure provides invaluable knowledge necessary to take an effective measures, both at European and global level to combat climate change," said Dr Kutsch.

The launch event was followed by an official inauguration of the new ICOS Belgium ecosystem station in National Park Hoge Kempen, an area of 5700 hectares of nature in the Belgian province of Limburg.

This brand new station, which was built and now run by the Research Centre of Excellence Plant and Vegetation Ecology (PLECO) of the University of Antwerp in a vast heathland of Hoge Kempen, is the 10th ICOS station in Belgium making this ICOS network, led by prof. Reinhart Ceulemans, one of the most extensive ICOS national networks in Europe.

The construction and operation of the Maasmechelen EC Class 2 station is done in close collaboration with the Flemish Agency for Nature and Forests (ANB) that is managing Hoge Kempen national park. 

The site consists of 6 meter tower and the cabin that was built underground, in collaboration with architect Roger Liberloo, in order to guard the natural landscape of heathland.

The instrumentation mounted on the mast measures the exchange of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O) between the heather vegetation and the atmosphere as well as the meteorological variables (air temperature, wind speed, air pressure, precipitation). In addition to that, soil temperature and humidity are measured continuously at ground level and concentrations of pollutants (ozone (O3) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) will be measured in the air.

To find out more about ICOS Belgium go to their website at http://www.icos-belgium.be/