Operational Global Carbon Observing System (GEOCarbon)

The GEOCarbon Project will coordinate the contribution of European and international research institutes to the development of an Operational Global Integrated Carbon Observation and Analysis System.


Countries use a wide variety of methods to monitor the carbon cycle, making it difficult to compare data from country to country and get a clear picture of the global carbon level. The current global observational and modelling capabilities allow researchers to estimate  the carbon budget at different levels (from local to global), but many uncertainties remain.

Decision makers need systematic, consistent and transparent data, information and tools for an independent and reliable verification process of greenhouse gas emissions and sinks. The GEOCarbon project will set up a coordinated global carbon observantion and analysis system that will provided a  higher quality and quantity of CO2 and CH4 data from different domains and with an enhanced spatial and temporal resolution. The researcher will address the climate targets of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) goal of building a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) for carbon. 

Specific objectives of the GEOCARBON project are:
• Provide an aggregated set of harmonized global carbon data information (integrating the land, ocean, atmosphere and human dimension)
• Develop improved Carbon Cycle Data Assimilation Systems (CCDAS)
• Define the specifications for an operational Global Carbon Observing System
• Provide improved regional carbon budgets of Amazon and Central Africa
• Provide comprehensive and synthetic information on the annual sources and sinks of CO2 for the globe and for large ocean and land regions
• Improve the assessment of global CH4 sources and sinks and develop the CH4 observing system component
• Provide an economic assessment of the value of an enhanced Global Carbon Observing System 
• Strengthen the effectiveness of the European (and global) Carbon Community participation in the GEO system

IIASA Research

The main objective of this project is to coordinate the contribution of European and international leading research institutes toward the development of an Operational Global Integrated Carbon Observation and Analysis System. IIASA co-lead Component 7 (CMP7) with CMCC (the coordinator). CMP7 assesses the economic value of the enhanced global carbon observation system. The idea is to use a combination of an integrated assessment model (www.witch.org) and an economic, partial equilibrium bottom-up land use model (www.globiom.org) to estimate the cost (or emissions) savings from being able to make better-informed decisions/policies. 

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Last edited: 19 November 2014


Sabine Fuß

Guest Research Scholar

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 423


01.10.2011 - 30.09.2014



International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313