Knowledge through observations


Through observations, ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) aims at increasing the knowledge on how emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHG) are regionally distributed and how the society can reduce its emissions. ICOS measures the atmospheric GHG level and provides independent and reliable carbon observations from the ocean and the land. By signing the agreement ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium), Norway has committed to perform measurements that are in concert with the ICOS aims.  


What is ICOS Norway?

ICOS Norway is the Norwegian component of ICOS. It delivers standardised and high-quality carbon data from different sites and platforms in Norwegian territorial area including land and ocean. The observation system is an important tool to verify Norway and EU`s efforts to mitigate climate change.

The Norwegian sites include two towers for air measurements in southern Norway (Birkenes) and at Svalbard (Zeppelin), one tower for forest measurements in south-eastern Norway (Hurdal), and four ships (M/S Tukuma Arctica, M/S Sea Cargo Express, R/V G.O. Sars, and R/V Kronprins Haakon) operating in the North Atlantic, the Nordic Seas, and areas around Svalbard. In addition, two new stations will be in operation in 2023: an atmospheric station which will be situated in the forest measurement tower at Hurdal and an ocean station at the coastal steamer M/S Richard With, which goes between Bergen and Kirkenes.

Open and accessible data

Data from the various sites and platforms are available for everyone including stakeholders, such as scientists, national and international agencies, the sector for oil and energy and the fishery sector. ICOS data can be downloaded from The Carbon Portal, which is the “one stop shop”. 

Ocean Thematic Centre (OTC)

ICOS has several service centres which, amongst other tasks perform data quality control and storage, develop measurement procedures, and assists with instrument calibration. Norway leads the Ocean Thematic Centre, which currently organize a network of 27 European ocean stations from 8 countries. These stations cover large part of the Atlantic, the Nordic Seas, the Baltic, and the Mediterranean Sea and consist of research vessels, cargo ships, buoys, and moorings, all equipped with instruments and sensors which detect CO2 in the surface water. For more info about OTC, visit their homepage.