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Project: The nitrogen cycle and its influence on the European greenhouse gas balance
Acronym:   NitroEurope
What's new:   New project
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Title: Assessing large-scale environmental Risks with tested Methods
Acronym:   ALARM
Project summary:   The strategic objectives of ALARM are to develop an integrated large-scale assessment of the risk to bio-diversity, and terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, including those risks arising from: climate change; environmental chemicals; biological invasions; and the loss of pollinators. ALARM will establish socio-economic risk indicators related to the drivers of pressure on bio-diversity.
Title: Assessment of the European terrestrial carbon balance
Acronym:   CarboEurope
Project summary:   The overarching aim of the CarboEurope-IP is to understand and quantify the present terrestrial carbon balance of Europe and the associated uncertainty at local, regional and continental scale. In order to achieve this, the project addresses the three major topics: 1. Determination of the carbon balance of the European continent, its geographical patterns, and changes over time. This is achieved by (1) executing a strategically focussed set of surface based ecological measurements of carbon pools and CO2 exchange, (2) further enhancement of an atmospheric high precision observation system for CO2 and other trace gases, (3) execution of a regional high spatial resolution experiment, and (4) integration of these components by means of innovative data assimilation systems, bottom-up process modelling and top-down inverse modelling. The key innovation of the CarboEurope-IP is in its conception as to apply single comprehensive experimental strategy, and its integration into a comprehensive carbon data assimilation framework. It is solving the scientific challenge of quantifying the terrestrial carbon balance at different scales and with known, acceptable uncertainties. The increase in spatial and temporal resolution of the observational and modelling program will allow for the first time a consistent application of a multiple constraint approach of bottom-up and top-down estimates to determine the terrestrial carbon balance of Europe with the geographical patterns and variability of sources and sinks. 2. Enhanced understanding of the controlling mechanisms of carbon cycling in European ecosystems, and the impact of climate change and variability, and changing land management on the European carbon balance. This is achieved by (1) the partitioning of carbon fluxes into their constituent parts (assimilation, respiration, fossil fuel burning), at local, regional and continental scales, (2) the quantification of the effects of management on net ecosystem carbon exchange based on data synthesis, and (3) the development, evaluation and optimisation of ecosystem process models. 3. Design and development of an observation system to detect changes of carbon stocks and carbon fluxes related to the European commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. This is achieved by (1) atmospheric measurements and a modelling framework to detect changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the time frame of a Kyoto commitment period, and (2) 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. CarboEurope-IP integrates and expands the research efforts of 67 European contractors and around 30 associated institutes. CarboEurope-IP addresses basic scientific questions of high political relevance.
Additional project information:   Project website  Max Planck Inst. for Biogeochemistry (Jena) - Press release on kick-off meeting, Spoleto, January 2004 ("Public & press" section of the website) 
Title: Ensemble-based Predictions of Climate Changes and their Impacts
Acronym:   ENSEMBLES
Project summary:   ENSEMBLES will develop an ensemble prediction system for climate change based on state-of-the-art high-resolution European Earth System models. For the first time an objective probabilistic estimate of the uncertainty in future climate at the seasonal, decadal and longer time scales will be produced. The system will directly incorporate agriculture, health, food security, energy, water resources, insurance and weather risk management. Important contributions to the IPCC and the UNFCCC are expected.
Additional project information:   Project website 
Title: Integrated flood risk analysis and management methodologies
Acronym:   FLOODsite
Project summary:   FLOODsite will develop methodologies and tools for inland, estuarine and coastal flood risk analysis and management by integrating hazard, vulnerability and risk assessments. The overall aim is that of sustainable flood mitigation and defence, recognising the complex interaction between natural bio-physical and socio-economic systems to support spatial and policy planning in the context of global change and societal advance.
Title: Integrated Project to Evaluate the Impacts of Global Change on European Freshwater Ecosystems
Project summary:   EURO-LIMPACS focuses on the key drivers of aquatic ecosystem change (land-use, nutrients, acid deposition and toxic substances) and examines their interactions with climate, change, using time-series analysis, space-for-time substitution, palaeolimnology, experiments and process modelling. A central activity is the development of a toolkit for integrated catchment analysis and modelling to simulate hydrological, hydrochemical and ecological processes at the catchment scale for use in assessing the potential impact of global change under different climate and socio-economic scenarios
Title: Risk Mitigation for Earthquakes and Landslides
Project summary:   This project will address the design of earthquake resistant structures and the further development of base isolation devices which are introduced between the structures and their foundations, in order to drastically reduce the response of the structures to the earthquakes, essentially isolating the structure from the ground motion. Furthermore, the project will address the issue of mechanisms of landslide triggering and mitigation strategies. This research will increase the competitiveness of the European construction industry. The large industrial participation (18 out of 47 partners) ensures the immediate take-up of the results by the end users.
Title: Stratosphere-climate links with emphasis on the UTLS
Acronym:   SCOUT-03
Project summary:   This integrated project deals with the European predictive capability on the evolution of the stratospheric ozone layer and concentration of UV radiation at the surface, which depend on the interplay between climate change and impact of ozone depleting substances. An important aim is to provide essential advice to the policy makers involved in the Montreal Protocol.
Additional project information:   Project website  CORDIS News article  Commission News Alert 
Title: Understanding river-sediment-soil-groundwater interactions for support of management of water bodies (river basin & catchment areas)
Project summary:   Main objectives are: 1) quantify the relevant processes likely to be affected by climate change; 2) early identification of adverse trends in water quantity and quality; 3) development of integrated numerical soil-water system models reflecting all relevant transport processes at various scales.
Title: SENSOR - Sustainability Impact Assessment: Tools for Environmental Social and Economic Effects of Multifunctional Land Use in European Regions
Acronym:   SENSOR
Project summary:   Sustainability of land use is a central point of policy and management at different levels of governance. Implementation of European policies requires the development of robust tools for the assessment of different scenarios’ impacts on the environmental, social and economic sustainability of European regions.

SENSOR will build, validate and implement sustainability impact assessment tools (SIAT), including databases and spatial reference frameworks for the analysis of land and human resources in the context of land use policies. The scientific challenge is to establish relationships between different environmental, social and economic processes as characterised by sustainability indicators. Scenario techniques will be used within an modelling framework, reflecting various aspects of multifunctionality and their interactions. One focus will be on European sensitive regions, particularly those in new EU member countries, since accession related transition poses significant questions for policy makers regarding the sustainability effects of existing and proposed land use policies. SIAT will utilise the statistical and spatial data continuously collected by European and regional agencies.

Additional project information:   Project website 

Title: The nitrogen cycle and its influence on the European greenhouse gas balance
Acronym:   NitroEurope
Project summary:   The NitroEurope IP - or NEU for short - addresses the major question: What is the effect of reactive nitrogen (Nr) supply on net greenhouse gas budgets for Europe? The objectives are to:
* establish robust datasets of N fluxes and net greenhouse-gas exchange (NGE) in relation to C-N cycling of representative European ecosystems, as a basis to investigate interactions and assess long-term change,
* quantify the effects of past and present global changes (climate, atmospheric composition, land-use/land-management) on CN cycling and NGE,
* simulate the observed fluxes of N and NGE, their interactions and responses to global change/land-management decisions, through refinement of plot-scale models,
* quantify multiple N and C fluxes for contrasting European landscapes, including interactions between farm-scale management, atmospheric and water dispersion, and consideration of the implications for net fluxes and strategies,
* scale up Nr and NGE fluxes for terrestrial ecosystems to regional and European levels, considering spatial variability and allowing assessment of past, present and future changes,
* assess uncertainties in the European model results and use these together with independent measurement/inverse modelling approaches for verification of European N2O and CH4 inventories and refinement of IPCC approaches.
These objectives are met by a programme that integrates:
1) an observing system for N fluxes and pools [Component 1]
2) a network of manipulation experiments [Component 2]
3) plot-scale C-N modelling [Component 3]
4) landscape analysis [Component 4]
5) European up-scaling [Component 5] and
6) uncertainty and verification of European estimates [Component 6].
In addition to that, the project organisation comprises cross-cutting activities addressing management, databases, training and dissemination.
NEU will advance the fundamental understanding of C-N interactions at different scales and deliver: process-based models, landscape-level assessments, European maps of C-N pools, Nr fluxes and NGE, and independent verification of GHG inventories, as required under the Kyoto Protocol.

Additional project information:   Project website 

Title: A Long-term Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Awareness Research Network
Acronym:   ALTER-NET
Project summary:   By formally integrating the existing capability of national research centres of excellence, ALTER-NET will create a quasi-institute, a European long-term interdisciplinary research facility for research on the complex relationship between ecosystems, biodiversity and society. Research will contribute directly to our understanding of the inter-relationship between biodiversity and the services it provides to society and vice versa.
Title: Atmospheric composition change: an European network
Acronym:   ACCENT
Project summary:   The joint programme of ACCENT activities deals with a common European strategy for research on atmospheric science, focussing on aerosols, biosphere-atmosphere interactions and transport and transformation of pollutants. Integration will be achieved by making available common facilities, databases, infrastructure and through common activities as training and education, assessment of scientific results and interface with the general public.
Title: Implementation of high-throughput genomic approaches to investigate the functioning of marine ecosystems and the biology of marine organisms.
Acronym:   Marine Genomics
Project summary:   Experts in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics from several Centres of Excellence in genomics in Europe will be grouped and networked with marine biologists who can make use of high-throughput genomics data. The network aims among others at sharing existing technological platforms; enabling access to major genomic centres; establishing a common DNA Stock Centre and a common Bioinformatics Centre. Marine Genomics will also develop complementary dissemination strategies, targeting public, private and institutional communities with the purpose of enhancing the integration of marine biologists in the ERA.
Additional project information:   Project website  CORDIS News article  ImaGene: a Photo Contest on Marine Genomics 
Title: Marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
Acronym:   MARBEF
Project summary:   The project will: develop a European "taxonomy clearing system"; establish a joint training programme; form a Board of Governance to establish links with funding agencies and policy makers at national and European levels. In so doing, MARBEF will also contribute to other EU policies such as EU biodiversity research strategy and the CFP, and to Member State biodiversity research strategies as well as international initiatives and agreements (GLOBEC, CoML, DIVERSITAS etc.).