Strategic objective

The overarching aim of the CarboEurope-IP is to understand and quantify the terrestrial carbon balance of Europe and associated uncertainties at local, regional and continental scale .

In order to achieve this strategic objective, the project addresses the following topics and associated questions:

Main Objectives (MO)

”The European Carbon Balance”

  1. To determine the time-varying distribution of atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and other Carbon Cycle related tracers by taking high precision measurements as input to top-down inverse modelling techniques (MO1).
  2. To determine net ecosystem carbon fluxes from eddy covariance towers, changes in carbon pools from land carbon inventories, and biophysical parameters from remote sensing as input to bottom-up process modelling (MO2).
  3. To develop an innovative data assimilation framework for the application of a multiple constraint approach where observations of different nature will optimally quantify the European carbon balance (MO3).

”Processes and Modelling”

  1. To determine the partitioning of carbon fluxes into its constituent parts (assimilation, respiration, fossil fuel burning), at local, regional and continental scales and its relation to external parameters, and present human activities (MO4).
  2. To quantify the effects of management on net ecosystem carbon exchange based on data synthesis (MO5).
  3. To develop, evaluate and optimise ecosystem process models (MO6).

”Detection of Kyoto

  1. To provide an observation system of atmospheric measurements and a modelling framework to detect changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the time frame of a Kyoto commitment period (MO7).
  2. To develop the outline of a carbon accounting system for the second Commitment period based on measuring carbon fluxes, stock changes by soil and biomass inventories, vegetation properties by remote sensing, and atmospheric concentrations (MO8).

Specific Objectives and means to achieve them

The Main Objectives are met by organising the IP into four "Components" ( Figure 1) that deal with

All these Components interact and require additional cross-cutting information. The joint aim is to estimate the European carbon balance in the recent past and present (Figure 2).

Figure 1 Graphical representation of the main objectives and their implementation as ”Components” of the Integrated Project Figure 2 Logic of the flow of data and knowledge in the multiple constraint approach of CarboEurope-IP

The objectives of these Components as based on the Main Objectives are listed below. In order to meet the Main Objectives, the Components are assigned to meet Specific Objectives. We refer to the linkage with the Main Objectives (MO) in brackets. Means to achieve the Specific Objectives are given for each objective.

Component 1: Ecosystem carbon budget and its driving forces ("Ecosystem")

Component 2: Continental carbon budget and its driving forces ("Atmosphere")

Component 3: Regional carbon budget and its driving forces ("Regional Experiment")

Component 4: Integration of Scales and Carbon Data Assimilation Methods ("Continental Scale Integration")


updated by Yvonne Hofmann,