Welcome to the ICOS Ocean Thematic Centre (OTC)

The OTC is one of four central facilities within the European research infrastructure Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS RI). The marine elements of the ICOS RI provides the long-term oceanic observations required to understand the present state and predict future behaviour of the global carbon cycle and climate- relevant gas emissions. The oceanic sink currently offsets approximately 25% of CO2 emissions from human activities. Oceanic net air-sea CO2 fluxes of the Atlantic are a large proportion of the net global marine flux, together with CH4 and N2O fluxes.

OTC coordinate and support the European network of Monitoring Stations Assembly (MSA) in the North Atlantic, Nordic Seas, Baltic and the Mediterranean (Fig. 1). OTC cooperates with the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP) to cover the global ocean observing systems, such as Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS), Fixed Ocean Stations (FOS), Repeat Ocean Sections (ROS), Marine Flux Towers (MFT) and new technologies.

OTC builds on expertise and results gained during previous and current EU-funded science projects (CAVASSOO, CARBOOCEANCARBOCHANGEEuro-SitesFixO3 and ATLANTOS). In addition, as the observation of marine carbon cycle is of global concern, OTC works with the global observing community to develop global monitoring (e.g. Pfeil et al., 2013; Bakker et al., 2014).


Fig. 1: The suggested network of stations for the ocean-network: Circles - Fixed Ocean Stations (FOS), Red lines – Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS), and green lines – Repeat Ocean Section (ROS).