Project description

A description of the EU Framework 7 CARBONES project

CARBONES is a EU-funded collaborative project part of the Seventh Framework Programme. It proposes a novel approach for quantifying and understanding CO2 surface fluxes in response to a strong need for detailed information of CO2 fluxes and carbon pools.

The CARBONES global information service will deliver the first ever consistent, high space- and time-resolution history of the carbon cycle, with associated uncertainties and attribution to controlling processes. This history will take the form of a calibrated 30 years-long re-analysis of space and time variations of carbon fluxes and carbon pools over the globe.

The products and diagnostics will be publicly disseminated thanks to a tailored user-friendly interface, allowing climate modellers, other science communities and the general public to understand and easily visualize the living carbon cycle over the past 30 years.

CARBONES will lay the foundation of a future global operational verification system of CO2 fluxes. The project is compliant will all elements of the EU INSPIRE Directive governing exchange and dissemination of spatial data.

Motivation

› A strong need for detailed information of CO2 fluxes and carbon pools

The increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is the driver of climate change. CO2 has increased by 30 %, N2O by 20 % and CH4 by 300 % since pre-industrial times, and they keep increasing. This is caused by human activities, mainly fossil fuel combustion and modifications of global vegetation through land-use change.

On average only half of the CO2 from anthropogenic emissions has remained in the atmosphere until now. The land and oceans have sequestered the other half. The present quantification of CO2 sources and sinks (e.g. Kyoto protocol negotiations), based on inventories of forest biomass and energy statistics, is however too simple to correctly represent the atmospheric signatures of CO2 variability.

There is now, both from the climate modelling community (who want to understand and quantify the carbon cycle at global and regional scales) and from policy makers and citizens (who want to take well-informed decisions on CO2 emissions at regional and local scales), a strong need for detailed information of CO2 fluxes and carbon pools, both for the recent history and current state of the carbon cycle.

Objectives

› A new world-class carbon cycle environmental service

CARBONES aims to provide a calibrated 30-year long re-analysis of space and time variations of carbon fluxes and pools over Europe and the globe, consistent with all available in situ and satellite data. Products will be tailored to be used by the IPCC climate modellers for testing and improving their simulations of the future evolution of the coupled climate-carbon cycle system.

This overall objective will be reached through nine scientific and technical targets, that make the project endeavour realistic, measurable and successful within a three-year timeframe.

  1. Analysing user needs: involve climate and earth system modellers for product definition, service design and demonstration of interest.
  2. Interfacing with and integrating available various types of data needed for the re-analysis, including satellite data, in situ data infrastructure, and GMES core services.
  3. Implementing state-of-the-art process-based models and assimilation methods through the design and integration of the CARBONES information system.
  4. Generating a 30-year re-analysis of carbon fluxes and pools maps consistently constrained by available in situ and satellite data, and regularly updated.
  5. Developing an interactive visualisation/mapping interface of the CARBONES system and dataset, designed to meet climate modellers' needs and dedicated to experimentation.
  6. Evaluating and demonstrating the interest of the CARBONES information system.
  7. Specifying future satellite missions and observation systems of the carbon cycle.
  8. Analysing future applications and downstream potentialities: identify possible downstream services and institutional/economic end-users of a CARBONES operational service.
  9. Defining a downstream carbon service to meet the needs identified in (8).

Product characteristics

› Comprehensive carbon sources and sinks re-analysis with a high spatial and time resolution

CARBONES will address in a comprehensive and accurate way the quantification and understanding of the distribution of CO2 fluxes, carbon pools and underlying processes.

The complex biological, chemical and physical processes which regulate the exchange of CO2 in the atmosphere, over land ecosystems and in the oceans, will be described by process-based models of the carbon cycle and be further optimized against long-term in situ and satellite observations. Special emphasis will be placed on the carbon fluxes and pools over Europe and the North Atlantic, drawing on data from the EU projects CARBOEUROPE and CARBOOCEAN.

The final 30-year long re-analysis will start in 1982, and have a high resolution in space (50 to 100 km) and time (3-hourly) in order to formulate better adaptation strategies for preserving and managing ecosystem resources in the face of climate change.

Models and data

A full-fledged 4D-var data assimilation system will be fitted to the global carbon model ORCHIDEE (echanges of terrestrial carbon, water and energy), a simplified ocean model based on PISCES (ocean physics and biology), and the LMDZ model (atmospheric CO2 transport).

The system will also integrate:

  • very high-resolution anthropogenic emission inventories over Europe, and moderate-resolution inventories over the rest of the globe,
  • tropical deforestation fluxes data, and
  • global fire emissions data.

Impacts of extreme climate events

CARBONES will also provide a new insight into the impact of extreme climate events on the carbon function of ecosystems, in order to formulate better adaptation strategies for preserving and managing ecosystem resources in the face of climate change.

Particular attention will be put to understanding the response of the ocean and vegetation to:

  • the 1992-94 post-Pinatubo climate cooling and high CO2 uptake period,
  • the 1998 record breaking El Niño,
  • the 2002 drought in North America,
  • the 2003 heat wave in Europe,
  • the 2005 extended drought in the Amazon.

Test-bed simulator of observations for future space missions

By accounting for the full coupling of ocean, land and atmospheric carbon cycle in permanent interaction with climate variability, CARBONES will form a test-bed simulator of observations for designing and calculating the impact of future space missions and in situ networks.

Such a tool will allow optimal instrument design and complementary placement of ground-based and remote sensing observations.

Dissemination

The CARBONES data products and diagnostics will be made publicly available through a tailored user-friendly interface, allowing climate modellers, other science communities, and the general public to understand and easily visualize the living carbon cycle over the past 30 years. The CARBONES service will lay the foundation of a future global operational verification system of CO2 fluxes.

The service will be hosted by ergonomic software with highly interactive maps with zoom and pan functionality similar to that available in Google Maps. This will allow:

  • area and time period selection,
  • display of CO2 fluxes and stocks over the selected area,
  • comparison between modelled fluxes and collocated in situ data,
  • attribution of carbon flux and carbon pools changes to processes (CO2 fertilization, land-use change, etc.),
  • sensitivity of regional carbon fluxes to climate change,
  • trend detection of long-term changes over the past 30 years and vulnerability identification,
  • comparison of model fluxes with future core services products over their period of overlap.

Demonstration maps

A demonstration of the web mapping interface is available here. The web mapping demonstration is based on sample data from 1 year of:

  • simulations done with the global version of the ORCHIDEE model (without assimilation) for the biogenic fluxes and stocks of C
  • Takahashi climatology for the net C ocean flux
  • GFED (Global Fire Emissions Database version 2) for biomass burning
  • from EDGAR database for anthropogenic fossil fuel emissions

The demonstration also presents the results of temporal filtering on the sample data.

The web mapping application displays the variable values through a colour-shaded map. Continent and country outlines are overlaid on the map to assist the user in relating the colour-shaded map to particular regions of the globe. There is a legend at the bottom-left corner which gives details of the colour scales used to convert numerical values into coloured maps, and the units of the numerical values.

Here are some instructions explaining the use of the web application.

  • Select the variable to display from the tree control at the left. Only one variable can be displayed at a time, because the data covers the whole globe.
  • Select the temporal averaging period for the data from the drop-down on the top left. The options include "3-hourly", "Day", "Month", "Year" and "Period". Different options are available depending on the variable selected by the user in the tree control.
  • Select the temporal filtering from the drop-down at the centre top. The options are "Mean", "Smooth trend", "Smooth curve" and "Recentred parameter". Different options are available depending on the variable selected by the user in the tree control.
  • Select a time step to display using the controls at the top right. You can either select a date-time directly using the calendar control and the drop-down for the times; or step forwards and backwards through the time steps in order using the buttons.
  • Use the map controls to pan and zoom the map. Click the globe to reset the view to show the entire world. You can also pan the map by clicking and dragging with the mouse, and you can zoom the map with the mouse wheel (if your computer has a mouse wheel).

Top of the page