Sources and Sinks for Greenhouse Gases (GHG-Europe)

GHG-Europe analyzed European agricultural and forestry lands to determine both the sources and the sinks of three major greenhouse gases and what percentage of those gases was anthropogenic.

© Vicki France |

© Vicki France |


With more than 50% of European land being used for agriculture and forestry production, how that land is managed directly impacts the terrestrial greenhouse gas sources and sinks.          

Determining what percentage of emissions of the three major greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4)—is anthropogenic and how much comes from “natural drivers” was the ultimate challenge of the GHG-Europe project and the precondition for determining the extent to which greenhouse gas emissions from that land could be reduced.  

Measurements from a network of more than 100 sensor stations distributed across Europe provided the basis for the integrated GHG emissions assessment. These measurements were modeled to project future GHG budgets under changing climate conditions. Researchers also factored in socioeconomic effects to link GHG emissions, land use, and economic development.

IIASA Research

IIASA researchers modeled climate change feedbacks from physical systems—agricultural land and forests—against models analyzing scenarios based on projected economic and policy changes. By integrating the different scenarios into the IIASA GLOBIOM model, it was possible to estimate the vulnerability of ecosystem carbon stocks and greenhouse gas emissions to changing conditions over the next several decades.

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Last edited: 12 June 2012


Michael Obersteiner

Principal Research Scholar Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program


01.01.2010 - 30.06.2013

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