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National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory

Eddy Covariance is a micrometeorlogical technique used to directly measure the rate of CO2 exchange between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems. In 2021, The National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory (NASCO) was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). Establishment is currently underway and will include 28 Eddy Covariance Flux Towers located on benchmark sites including agricultural grasslands, mineral soils and peatlands. The data generated will provide accurate, long-term information on the carbon dynamics of Irish agricultural systems. This will also complement the greenhouse gas research carried out as part of Teagasc Sign Post farms, Vista MilkTerrain AI and the Agricultural Catchments Programme. Overall, NASCO will place Ireland at the forefront of international carbon research and will enable:

  • Improved measurement, modelling and mapping of carbon uptake and release from agricultural land
  • Accurate assessment of carbon sequestration according to climatic conditions, soil type and agricultural management practices
  • Better understanding of the efficacy of mitigation measures to increase carbon sequestration
  • National inventory and emission factor refinement
  • Allow for participation in the EU ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) network

Nasco 4 – Long term grazed grassland site with eddy covariance tower at Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford.

Nasco 5 -  Eddy covariance tower deployed on a Tillage site in the Castledockrell catchment, Co. Wexford

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Terms of Use: This map is designed for general information and strategic planning usage.The locations of the tower sites have been intentionally altered, and the scale has been limited. As such, the tower locations should not be taken as basis for any analysis.
Digital data files are periodically updated. Files are dated, and users are responsible for obtaining the latest version of the data.
While every effort is made in preparing the dataset no responsibility is accepted by or on behalf of Teagasc for any errors, omissions or misleading information. Teagasc does accept no responsibility whatsoever for loss or damage occasioned or claimed to have been occasioned, in part or in full, as a consequence of any person acting, or refraining from acting, as a result of a matter contained in this dataset or as a consequence of using this dataset for any purpose whatsoever.

Signpost Programme Soil Carbon Sampling

The first phase of a national soil sampling campaign was undertaken in 2021/22 across 104 Signpost Programme farms. Extensive soil sampling was performed on each farm to inform on the general nutrient status and gather preliminary information on soil organic carbon stocks. Ten centimetre core samples were taken across all Signpost farms, with further deep soil sampling scheduled to take place in 2022. Samples have been analysed for total carbon and organic carbon as well as pH and other major nutrients and trace elements. These analyses will act in tandem with the data from eddy covariance towers to help quantify soil carbon stocks and carbon sequestration rates on Irish farms. In turn, this will allow for a greater knowledge of sustainable land use management and will allow farmers to implement emission-reducing farming systems.

Technicians taking 10cm soil samples as part of the Signpost soil sampling campaign, Co. Roscommon.