Carbon Assimilation and Modelling of the European Land Surfaces


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Carbon Assimilation and Modelling of the European Land Surfaces ( CAMELS) is a project funded by European Commission DG Research - Vth Framework Programme.

Under the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Annex I countries are permitted to partially offset their emissions of CO2 by carbon accumulated due to forest management and additional human-induced change in land-use and land management. The related sources and sinks of CO2 must be reported in a transparent and verifiable manner.  CAMELS will provide key support to EU countries in meeting their obligations under Kyoto, through the following products:

(i)    Best estimates and uncertainty bounds for the contemporary and historical  land carbon sinks in Europe and elsewhere, isolating the effects of direct land-management.

(ii)    A prototype carbon cycle data assimilation system (CCDAS) exploiting existing data sources (e.g. flux measurements, carbon inventory data, satellite products) and the latest terrestrial ecosystem models (TEMs), in order to produce operational estimates of Kyoto sinks.

CAMELS will pioneer a highly innovative method of estimating contemporary carbon fluxes, involving the assimilation of observed data into terrestrial carbon cycle models.  The new scheme will be used to address the following questions:

i) Where are the current carbon sources and sinks located on the land and how do European sinks compare with other large continental areas?

ii) Why do these sources and sinks exist, i.e. what are the relative contributions of CO2  fertilisation, nitrogen deposition, climate variability, land management and land-use change?

iii) How could we make optimal use of existing data sources and the latest models to produce operational estimates of the European land carbon sink?

The CAMELS project is  carried out by various partner insititues and is coordinated by Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Met Office, UK. The findings will be communicated to policymakers to inform EU policy within the UNFCCC.