Final RINGO project report published – Europe’s response to scientific, industrial and societal challenges strengthened through the strong development of ICOS
The 'Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of Integrated Global Observations’, RINGO project has published its final project report. The report reflects the impact of the RINGO project on the development of the ICOS research infrastructure and describes the main results achieved. With its 43 partners in 19 countries, RINGO boosted ICOS research infrastructure’s scientific, geographical, technological, data, as well as political and administrative readiness.
RINGO project (2017–2020) was funded through the European Commission’s call on ‘Development and long-term sustainability of new pan-European research infrastructures’ to provide Europe with a comprehensive landscape of sustainable research infrastructures that would help to respond to challenges in science, industry and society. The project was coordinated by the ICOS European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).
RINGO contributed significantly to the overall readiness and the long-term sustainability of ICOS. During the RINGO project, ICOS’ implementation or so called ‘Readiness Level’, a reference grid established by the European Commission to reflect the European research infrastructures’ stages of development along their lifecycles, matured from the Readiness Level 4 to the Level 5.
The project impacted strongly in the Copernicus Monitoring and Verification Support (MVS) and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). RINGO contributed to the development of ICOS’ capacity for fast-tracking ICOS knowledge transfer (e.g. the study on the 2018 drought), and contributed to ICOS’ readiness for European Union’s Green Deal goals that support the development of urban greenhouse gas (GHG) observatories.
RINGO provided a valuable approach for the five-year evaluation of ICOS, done by an external Evaluation Committee, suggesting that key performance indicators and key impact indicators have to be aligned with each other and with the overall strategy of ICOS. As a result, a set of 36 key performance indicators (KPIs) were established and evaluated during the process. In general, the Evaluation Committee found that ICOS has completed its implementation phase very successfully, with a well-established governance as well as operational and financial management processes.
ICOS provides data and knowledge on GHG budgets and their perturbations. Its core activities are long-term observations in the atmosphere, within ecosystems and on the oceans. These observations are required for understanding the present state and for predicting the future behaviour of the global carbon cycle and GHG fluxes.
RINGO project has ended, pending final review
RINGO, 'Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of Integrated Global Observations' (2017-2020) has been finished and submitted to European Commission. RINGO has 43 partners in 19 countries and it is coordinated by ICOS ERIC. The specific emphasis of the project has been on the further development of the readiness of ICOS Research Infrastructure (ICOS RI) to foster its sustainability. Further dissemination activities are planned after the final review meeting with the commission, scheduled for second half of March.
Read the summary of the project goals and results here.
RINGO presentations at ICOS Science Conference 2020 published
Presentations highlighting the RINGO project at the ICOS Science Conference 2020 are now published. Thank you for contributing and participating to the conference!
Watch the video recordings below:
00.00.09 Pan-European monitoring of land-ocean-atmosphere carbon fluxes along the aquatic continuum
Stacey Felgate, Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems, National Oceanography Centre
0.17.33 Terrestrial laser scanning, the future of forest mensuration at ICOS
Miro Demol, Department of Environment/Biology, Ghent University / Antwerp University
0.30.45 Comparisons of AirCore vertical profiles of greenhouse gases from an intensive RINGO campaign at Sodankylä, Finland
Huilin Chen, Centre for Isotope Research, University of Groningen
0.46.45 The value chain of ocean CO2 measurements
Dorothee C. E. Bakker, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
0.59.07 Monitoring ffCO2 emission hotspots using atmospheric 14CO2 measurements
Samuel Hammer, Institute for Environmental Physics / ICOS CRL, Heidelberg
1.15.58 RINGO Highligh
Werner Kutsch, Director General, ICOS ERIC
1.44.17 Eddy coveriance measurements: a (not so) standard method
Simone Sabbatini, ICOS ETC / CMCC
2.00.49 Early detection of the effects of a changing environment on ecosystems
Virginie Moreaux, Ecologie et Ecophysiciologie Forestieres, INRAE
2.16.28 Making Atmopheric measurements onboard SOOPs
Gregor Rehder, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, IOW
2.31.53 Semi-automated near-real time (NRT) data pipeline for calculating atmosphere-ocean CO2 fluxes
Jamie Shutler, Centre for Geography and Environmental Science, University of Exeter
2.46.37 ICOS enhancing collaboration outside Europe – South Africa: Post-colonial, Decolonial and Global Science
Bob Scholes, Global Change Institute, University of Witwatersrand
Gone with the wind: how strategically bottled air improves greenhouse gas observations
The flask sampling strategy, first of its kind in the world, helps ICOS to push the high quality of its greenhouse gas measurements even further. The sampling strategy suggests the most cost-effective ways to collect the air samples, urges comparing of the flask sampling results with measurements done at the stations, and gives information on components that are not part of ICOS’ continuous measurements. The strategy also improves the knowledge on separating fossil-fuel-related emissions from biospheric fluxes that are fluxes produced by living organisms. The recently published research paper by the scientists of the ICOS community represents the strategy done within the EU project RINGO, “Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of Integrated Global Observations”.
The amount of greenhouse gases is constantly varying in the air. The natural cycle of greenhouse gases affects the amount of these gases in the atmosphere as much as human emissions, and has been shown to be altered by climate change. Thus, it is important to be able to distinguish between biospheric and fossil fuel emissions in the long-term, to direct climate mitigation efforts in the right way. Therefore, correct separation of biospheric fluxes from the fossil fuel emissions is necessary.
Only continuous observations can resolve the variability of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, and fully represent total emissions of an area around a measurement station, a station footprint. ICOS research network has currently 37 stations that measure greenhouse gases continuously in the atmosphere. The network is primarily designed to monitor and quantify the biospheric greenhouse gas fluxes. Flux means the exchange of carbon between the various carbon sinks and sources: a sink absorbs more carbon than it gives off, while a source emits more than it absorbs.
Samples of air are additionally collected at a selection of ICOS stations and stored into flasks, glass bottles. After analysis for a whole suit of greenhouse gases, selected samples are run through a process where water vapor, oxygen, nitrogen, and other trace gases are separated from carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary greenhouse gas contributing to the enhanced greenhouse effect. The isolated CO2 is analysed for its radiocarbon isotope (14C) content that reveals how much of the CO2 is of biospheric or fossil fuel origin.
Radiocarbon is the only carbon isotope that is radioactive, with a lifetime of about 8000 years. Because fossil fuels are millions of years old, their radiocarbon has decayed over the course of time. All other carbon dioxide in the air comes from younger sources, for example they are a result of the natural biospheric respiration process. With radiocarbon measurements, it is possible to determine how much radiocarbon-free CO2 has “diluted” the radiocarbon in the air samples, thus, what proportion of the CO2 comes from fossil fuels.
Flask sampling: making the moments count
Air masses move across the continents and pass by the measurement stations from random directions. A single measurement, which is affected e.g. by the direction of the wind on that day, provides only a snapshot of the whole story. This means that non-continuous measurements may be biased in their sampled concentration compared to the real average concentration at a station. The flask sampling strategy aims at improving the representativeness of measurements by coming up with the best moments to take air samples. The aim is to monitor the entire carbon footprint in the area around the station.
– We want to make sure to use the small time-windows as efficiently as possible to collect the air samples. This way we maximise the information from a minimum number of flasks, instead of having flasks that for example contain only clean air and no information about the emissions. In other words, we want to select the moments well! And this is a novel idea, explains Ingeborg Levin, a senior research scientist at Heidelberg University and one of the scientists behind the study.
The study suggests that flask samples should be collected regularly every third day around noon or in the afternoon when the air is well-mixed, from the highest level of a measurement tower. The timing minimises the errors of models which simulate the atmospheric transport. Models estimate regional and continental patterns of carbon movements between atmosphere, land and oceans, and calculate fluxes, the exchange of carbon between the various carbon sinks and sources. However, data collected at night bring challenges to the transport models.
– Currently, our flask sampling strategy is optimised to meet the inability of transport models that are not well digesting night-time data. This situation is unfortunate and must urgently be improved in order to increase our ability to monitor, in a top-down way, e.g. long-term changes of the fossil fuel CO2 emissions in Europe, Levin points out.
ICOS aims at the highest precision and accuracy of its measurements, and that they meet the compatibility goals of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Flask sampling provides an independent quality control to meet these goals. The components measured continuously at the Atmosphere stations can be compared with the same components in collected flasks analysed at the ICOS Flask and Calibration Laboratory. The comparison is done by the ICOS Atmosphere Thematic Centre. Differences between measurements at the stations and in the flasks point to errors in the sampling system, thus providing an early warning system.
Knowledge on biospheric carbon dioxide needed for the full story
According to the study, ICOS stations experience rather low average fossil CO2 concentrations. This is not surprising, since the network is primarily designed to monitor the biospheric fluxes of carbon.
– It is crucial to monitor the biospheric fluxes. There is far less quantitative knowledge on biospheric sources and sinks than on fossil fuel emissions. We monitor the biosphere but always get disturbed by the fossil fuels, says Levin.
To precisely measure fossil fuel CO2 emissions, some of the flask air samples have to be collected purposely when polluted air is about to pass the station. There are some good indicators of when the air contains a notable amount of fossil fuel CO2, for example, when the air is polluted with carbon monoxide, a trace gas which is co-emitted with CO2 in many burning processes. Continuous CO2 and carbon monoxide measurements at all ICOS stations can be compared with atmospheric transport model simulations with a dedicated web-based ICOS Carbon Portal Jupyter Notebook. With this tool, station Principal Investigators can optimise the flask sampling strategy for their station and evaluate also the most important fossil fuel emission areas in their station’s footprint.
First tests to automatically collect air samples when polluted air is about to pass the station have been made at the ICOS station Hohenpeißenberg in Germany.
– In the future, there could be an atmospheric transport model similar to the weather forecast that sends a message when the polluted air will be heading e.g. from Munich to Hohenpeißenberg, so that the air samples can be collected at the right time. This would make the whole process of targeting pollution events more robust, Levin anticipates.
The flask sampling strategy is a result of joint discussions at the ICOS Monitoring Assemblies with all the station Principal Investigators within the past four years. Experience in the coming years will show if the flask sampling strategy will be successful or if it will need further adaption, for example, if more urban stations join the ICOS network or real-time greenhouse gas prediction systems become available. But for now, the strategy provides an optimised yet simple way for flask sampling to encourage all the ICOS Atmosphere stations to send their flasks also for radiocarbon analyses – to get the whole story of their carbon footprints.
Link to the research: https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-20-11161-2020
Levin, I., Karstens, U., Eritt, M., Maier, F., Arnold, S., Rzesanke, D., Hammer, S., Ramonet, M., Vítková, G., Conil, S., Heliasz, M., Kubistin, D., and Lindauer, M.: A dedicated flask sampling strategy developed for Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) stations based on CO2 and CO measurements and Stochastic Time-Inverted Lagrangian Transport (STILT) footprint modelling, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 11161–11180, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-20-11161-2020, 2020.
ICOS success story: How ICOS helps Miro Demol to analyse how much carbon is stored in our forests
Miro Demol is a PhD student jointly supported by the University of Antwerp and the University of Ghent. His research focuses on measuring 3D forest structure and biomass through a modern technique called terrestrial laser scanning. Applications of these kinds of measurements include measuring air dust filtration by trees in urban environments, as well calculating the potential of forests as a carbon sink.
Throughout his PhD, Miro Demol has largely benefitted from ICOS’ network of unique and diverse ecosystem sites. He highlights: “All of the stations are managed by scientists, researchers and technicians with local knowledge which makes it easy to take measurements and access these places”.
Demol will have a presentation at the ICOS Science Conference 2020 on Tuesday the 15th of September (session 5). His presentation it entitled "Terrestrial laser scanning, the future of forest mensuration at ICOS". View his abstract here.
RINGO highlighted at the ICOS Science Conference 2020
The highlights of the RINGO project will be presented throughout the 4th ICOS Science Conference 2020 on "Knowledge for shaping the future – understanding the Earth's biogeochemical processes”. The event has an entire session (Session 17) dedicated to the RINGO. The conference takes place virtually from the 15th to 17th of September, 2020. Registration to the conference is free of charge, view the programme etc. here.
RINGO will be presented at the following sessions. For the full abstracts, click on the abstract numbers:
Tuesday 15th September
Plenary session (09:00-10:30 CEST)
Werner Kutsch: ICOS – European pillar of GHG observations
Parallel sessions (16:00-17:30 CEST)
Session 4: Fluxes at land-ocean atmosphere continuum, part I
16:54 | 130. Felgate, Stacey: Pan-European monitoring of land-ocean-atmosphere carbon fluxes along the aquatic continuum
Session 5: Bridging remote sensing and in situ GHG and related observations, part I
16:18 | 79. Demol, Miro: Terrestrial laser scanning, the future of forest mensuration at ICOS
16:36 | 138. Chen, Huilin: Comparisons of AirCore vertical profiles of greenhouse gases from an intensive RINGO campaign at Sodankylä, Finland
Session 6: Budgets, trends and other controls of GHG and atmospheric constituents, part I
93. Moreaux, Virginie: Can we see it? How in situ observation networks may detect environmental impacts on ecosystem biogeochemistry (poster presentation)
Thursday, 17th September
Plenary session (09:00-10:30 CEST)
Werner Kutsch: RINGO - Highlight
Parallel sessions (16:00-17:30 CEST)
Session 17: RINGO
The presentations in this special session showcase the RINGO project.
16:00 | 351. Shaukat, Sundas: Eddy covariance measurements: a (not so) standard method
16:18 | 352. Moreaux, Virginie: Early detection of the effects of a changing environment on ecosystems
16:36 | 353. Rehder, Gregor: Making Atmopheric measurements onboard SOOPs
16:54 | 354. Shutler, Jamie: Semi-automated near-real time (NRT) data pipeline for calculating atmosphere-ocean CO2 fluxes
17.12 | 350. Scholes, Bob: ICOS enhancing collaboration outside Europe – South Africa: Post-colonial, Decolonial and Global Science
All times in Central European Summer Time (UCT+2).
RINGO in Twitter: #RINGO_ghg
Ocean carbon uptake widely underestimated
The world's oceans soak up more carbon than most scientific models suggest, according to new research. Previous estimates of the movement of carbon between the atmosphere and oceans, known as "flux", have not accounted for temperature differences at the water's surface and a few metres below. The new study includes this – and finds significantly higher net flux of carbon into the oceans.
The study, led by the University of Exeter, was co-funded by the EU Horizon 2020 project RINGO, 'Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of Integrated Global Observations'.
The study calculates carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes from 1992 to 2018, finding up to twice as much net flux in certain times and locations, compared to uncorrected models.
"Half of the carbon dioxide we emit doesn’t stay in the atmosphere but is taken up by the oceans and land vegetation 'sinks'," says Dr Andrew Watson, Professor at the University of Exeter's Global Systems Institute and the ICOS United Kingdom Focal Point.
"Researchers have assembled a large database of near-surface carbon dioxide measurements – the Surface Ocean Carbon Atlas – that can be used to calculate the flux of CO2 from the atmosphere into the ocean. Previous studies that have done this have, however, ignored small temperature differences between the surface of the ocean and the depth of a few metres where the measurements are made. Those differences are important because carbon dioxide solubility depends very strongly on temperature."
"We used satellite data to correct for these temperature differences, and when we do that it makes a big difference – we get a substantially larger flux going into the ocean." Professor Watson adds: "Our revised estimate agrees much better than previously with an independent method of calculating how much carbon dioxide is being taken up by the ocean.
"That method makes use of a global ocean survey by research ships over decades, to calculate how the inventory of carbon in the ocean has increased. These two 'big data' estimates of the ocean sink for CO2 now agree pretty well, which gives us added confidence in them," tells Professor Watson.
ICOS Handbook 2020 published
The revised edition of the ICOS Handbook is now available. The ICOS Handbook 2020 is based on the ICOS Handbook 2019, funded by the RINGO project.
AirCore campaign visits France
International AirCore campaign visited the ICOS Trainou station in France from 10th to 21st of June. The campaign was organised by the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE) and was part of the 'Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of Integrated Global Observations' RINGO project. The AirCore is an atmospheric sampling system (see the picture) that samples the atmosphere and preserve a profile of the trace gas from the middle stratosphere to the ground.
Seven groups from LSCE/LMD, NOAA/ESRL, University of Groningen, Goethe University Frankfurt, University of Bern, Finnish Meteorological Institute, and Forschungszentrum Jülich, with expertise in AirCores participated in the campaign. The aim is to compare the techniques developed by each institute, and to test new measurements or protocols. The two-week campaign completed successfully 30 vertical profiles up to 35 km. In addition to inter-comparisons on CO2, CH4 and CO measurements, the campaign carried out the first measurements of N2O and COS profiles. This is important in order to develop technological innovations such as a system for tracing altitudes by injection of a tracer gas in the AirCore, and compare the in-situ measurements of the 'Atmospheric Measurements by Ultra-Light SpEctrometer' (AMULSE) with three different AirCores.
In addition, the campaign was partly synchronised with the ‘Monitoring of Atmospheric composition and Greenhouse gases through multi-Instruments Campaigns’ MAGIC campaign, involving airborne measurements aboard the 'French Service of Instrumented Aircraft for Environmental Research' (SAFIRE) Falcon, total columns observations and AirCores at Aire-sur-Adour and ICOS Puy de Dôme sites.
ICOS Handbook published
The ICOS Handbook helps to understand how we operate - how is ICOS organised, what and how we measure, and what is the role of the Thematic Centres and National Networks. The Handbook also describes the technical specifications of stations and the process of becoming a Member. This handbook aims to give a comprehensive overview of ICOS both for the people already within our community, as well as for countries considering membership. We also hope anyone interested in ICOS will find this handbook useful.
The Handbook was done within the RINGO Deliverable 2.1. Report on enhancing membership strategy for ICOS ERIC including the online Handbook for Stakeholders
Event: ICOS Marine Monitoring Station Assembly
The ICOS Marine Monitoring Station assembly is organised in Southampton, UK, on the 18th March 2019. The assembly will be chaired by Thanos Gkritzalis (VLIZ) and Tobias Steinhoff (GEOMAR), incorporating the annual report of the ICOS Ocean Thematic Centre. Attendance is open to anyone associated with the ICOS Ocean observing network, potential Station PIs and technical staff and observers from the broader ICOS family.
Event: ICOS Ocean Thematic Centre Industry–Science Observing Forum
The first ICOS Ocean Thematic Centre Industry–Science Observing Forum focuses on bringing together the shipping industry and the science community to explore ways in which they can work together to understand global environmental change. The forum will be organised at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton, UK, on the 18th March 2019.
The ocean takes up about 25 percent of the carbon released by human processes such as fossil fuel combustion and land use change. However, this net uptake represents the small difference between the two large fluxes, and resolving accurately the ocean uptake of carbon requires large amounts of data from vast areas. Realistically, only the commercial shipping industry has the capacity to support the necessary observing effort and as a consequence our efforts to measure these fluxes continuously are dependent on observing systems hosted by commercial vessels.
The forum will bring together existing industry partners, potential new partners and the science community to celebrate ongoing successes, thank vessel operators and provide opportunity for future partnerships to evolve. The event is open to anyone with an interest in sea surface observing from commercial vessels. The registration is free-of-charge.
Event: ICOS Symposium on the North Atlantic Carbon Cycle
One-day symposium on the North Atlantic and associated marginal seas carbon cycle will be organised on the 19th March 2019 by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton, UK, in the framework of the RINGO ('Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of Integrated Global Observations') EU Horizon 2020 project.
The North Atlantic and associated marginal seas (Baltic Sea and Mediterranean Sea), play important role in the global carbon cycle due to their very active solubility, shelf and biological pumps. They also host to a diverse array of observing systems including 'Ship of Opportunity' based pCO2 systems, hydrographic sections, moored arrays, sediment traps, atmospheric samplers and Argo floats. The emerging suggestions point that significant changes are occurring in both circulation and biogeochemistry of these ocean systems.
The one-day symposium is designed to bring together the novel observations to view how the carbon cycle in this critical part of the globe is operating and changing. The symposium welcomes contributions from the areas of models, data, satellites and theory, in particularly those which span methodologies or which synthesise together diverse datastreams.
The event is open for all interested researchers and it is free of charge.
Event: RINGO Annual Meeting 2019
20-22 March 2019
The annual meeting of the project RINGO ('Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of Integrated Global Observations') will be held from Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd March 2019 at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK.
National Oceanography Centre,
Event: RINGO Annual Meeting 2018
The annual meeting of the project RINGO ('Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of Integrated Global Observations') will be held in Belgium at the University of Antwerp, in the location of Hof van Liere from Tuesday 20th March until Thursday 22nd March, 2018.
The purpose of the meeting is to enhance and facilitate further progress of the RINGO project. This will be done through pleanaries on topics such as 'increasing the impact and integration of ICOS' and 'enhancing ICOS membership and sustainability'. The meeting will also include breakout workshops as well as presentations and discussions on mid-term reporting and dissemination.
Participation to this event is free of charge.
Are you lost, while trying to seek for the correct information?
The first year of RINGO is coming to an end and during the one-on-one TelCos’ held between the coordinator team and the task leaders, it came into our attention that RINGO is also used as an acronym that refers to Research Infrastructures Needs, Gaps, and Overlaps. It is another EU project which also has been granted the Horizon 2020 funding. It is addressing the issues related to strategic aviation and operate to improve existing and new research infrastructures to meat the goals set for flightpath 2050.
Albeit a bit of quirk of fate ‘O’ referring to “Overlaps”. We the coordinators of the both RINGOs have agreed that it would be best, if we could discover possibilities how this sudden existence of the exactly same acronym could be converted into a positive feature for mutual benefits. Therefore, on behalf of the Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of integrated Global Observations – RINGO coordination teams’ impression is that this has opened a unique opportunity to widen our dissemination scope. Hence, we have agreed to add each others website links to both project websites.
Event: RINGO Kickoff meeting in Heidelberg
21.02.2017 - 23.02.2017
Location: Kirchhoff Institute for Physics, Heidelberg, Germany
The European Commission funded H2020 project, Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of integrated Global Observations (RINGO) has been officially launched in Heidelberg from 21st to 23rd February 2017.
The Kickoff meeting gathered representatives from number of project partner organisations to discuss the activities, organisation and management of this four-year project, coordinated by ICOS ERIC.
RINGO aims at further development of ICOS Research Infrastructure by focusing on the RI’s scientific, geographical, technological, data-related as well as political and administrative readiness to further strengthen the quality of operations and the level of impact.
RINGO Kickoff meeting agenda
12.30-13.20 Welcome words and introduction of RINGO concept and aims (Werner Kutsch, ICOS DG and RINGO coordinator)
13.20-15.20 The World Café (TWC)
15:45-17:00 Risks of RINGO
9:00-12:00 Work Packages
• 9:00 WP1 (Ingeborg Levin)
• 9:20 WP2 (Jiří Kolman)
• 9:40 WP3 (Timo Vesala)
• 10:00 WP4 (Alex Vermeulen)
• 10:20 WP5 (Eija Juurola)
10:35-12:00 WP6 including project management (tools, platforms, techniques, ECAS protocols, definitions of responsibilities of partners, Evi-Carita Riikonen)
12:45-14:30 Dissemination and Exploitation actions (Gorana Jerkovic)
15:00-17:00 Individual meetings of Work Packages and Tasks
9:00-11:00 RINGO General Assembly meeting (Chair: Werner Kutsch, Rapporteur: Evi-Carita Riikonen)
This project has received funding from the
European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and
innovation programme under grant agreement No 730944.