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Growing involvement in ICOS and ACTRIS research infrastructures

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European research infrastructures such as ICOS and ACTRIS are quickly becoming fundamental components of the scientific atmospheric monitoring landscape as they ensure long-term state-of the-art measurements of atmospheric constituents from ground-based instruments (be it in situ or remote sensing), backed by centralized quality control and harmonization. BIRA-IASB takes on an important role within these infrastructures, both as a data provider and as a central facility operator.
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The ICOS and ACTRIS Research Infrastructures

ICOS (the Integrated Carbon Observation System) and ACTRIS (The Aerosol, Clouds and Trace Gases Research InfraStructure) are both European Research infrastructures aimed at providing long-term observations of long-lived greenhouse gases (ICOS) and other climate forcing components (ACTRIS). ICOS has been well established, while ACTRIS is currently under development, reaching full operational capacity by 2025.

The ground-based measurements provided by these networks (both in situ and using remote sensing) are of great importance since they not only provide direct information on the concentrations of key climate forcing components, but they also ground atmospheric models and satellite retrieval products.

The Maïdo ICOS atmosphere station

Teams at BIRA-IASB have made important progress in strengthening their role within these infrastructures as the research site at Maïdo (Reunion Island) has been officially accredited as a Belgian ICOS atmosphere site. The research site hosts two instruments operated by the institute and its French partners:

  • a ground-based remote sensing FTIR instrument
  • a PICARRO G2401 instrument measuring in situ concentrations of CO2, CH4, CO, and H2O

In the future, this ICOS site will be expanded to become a joint ICOS-ACTRIS site.

Further developments within ACTRIS

Within ACTRIS, BIRA-IASB plays a crucial role in setting up one of its 6 Topical Centres. This CREGARS (Centre for Reactive Trace Gases Remote Sensing) facility takes up the responsibility to facilitate, harmonize, process, and ensure the quality of all ACTRIS trace-gas remote sensing measurements.

In this context we have made great strides in the implementation of central processing data chains for infrared and UV-visible spectrometer observations to ensure quality control within the ACTRIS trace gas remote sensing infrastructure.

BIRA-IASB is also involved as a data provider at 4 planned ACTRIS national facility sites namely:

  • the Jungfraujoch site (Switzerland): MAX-DOAS UV-VIS instrument,
  • the Maïdo site (Reunion Island): FTIR and MAX-DOAS instrument,
  • the Uccle site (Belgium): an urban ACTRIS site for aerosol in-situ measurements complemented with UV-VIS remote sensing instruments, and
  • the Vielsalm mixed forest ICOS ecosystem-ACTRIS site (Belgium), where we operate a MAX-DOAS instrument and have expanded our measurement capabilities with the acquisition of a PTR-TOF-MS instrument for long-term and campaign-type VOC monitoring.
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Figure 2 caption (legend)
The terrestrial observatory of Vielsalm. Credits ICOS Belgium.
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Figure 3 caption (legend)
The BIRA-IASB researchers involved in the ICOS-network.
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