Knowledge through observations

Ocean Thematic Centre

Front page brochure

Learn more about ICOS OTC
in our brochure.

The ocean covers more than two thirds of the earth surface and absorbs approximately 25 percent of the human-made CO2-emissions from the air. The deep ocean stores about 60 times more CO2 than the atmosphere. Therefore, the ocean is a critical factor damping the effect of human CO2-emissions. To get a better understanding of the complex interplay between oceans and the atmosphere, researchers across Europe have joined forces at the Ocean Thematic Centre (OTC) located in the Bjerknes Centre in Bergen, Norway. OTC was officially launched in April 2016.


The Ocean Thematic Centre is one of four central facilities within the European research infrastructure Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS). The marine element of ICOS provides long-term oceanic observations, which are required to understand the present state and better predict future behaviour of the global carbon cycle and climate-relevant gas emissions.

The Ocean Thematic Centre currently coordinates twenty-one ocean stations from seven countries monitoring carbon uptake and fluxes in the North Atlantic, Nordic Seas, Baltic, and the Mediterranean Sea. Measuring methods include sampling from research vessels, moorings, buoys, and commercial vessels that have been equipped with state of the art carbonate system sensors.

The objective is to ensure high quality measurements of greenhouse gas concentrations that are independent, transparent and reliable. In turn, this monitoring system will support governments in their efforts to mitigate climate change as well as holding them
accountable for reaching their mitigation targets.