Amsterdam Island Observatory, TAAF (AMS)

Amsterdam Island Observatory, TAAF (AMS)


Ile Amsterdam, pointe Bénédicte (TAAF), France
Lat: -37.8°N, Lon: 77.54°E, Alt: 55m above see level
Sampling heights: 20 m above ground level


Amsterdam Island called New-Amsterdam island until 1965, is a small French island located in the south of the Indian Ocean, 1368 km north north-east away from the Kerguelen islands and 2713 km South-East away from Mauritius. Together with Saint-Paul Island, located 91 km more South, they form the Saint Paul and Amsterdam islands district, one of the 5 districts from the Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises (TAAF, the 4 others being Crozet islands, Kerguelen Islands, Adélie Land and Éparses Islands).

The Amsterdam island observatory is most probably the cleanest place on Earth, far away from direct pollution sources. It is a reference site for the southern hemisphere atmospheric record and the longest one for CO2.

CO2 concentrations have been measured continuously on site since 1981, in the middle of the subantarctic Indian Ocean. This program was initiated by A. Gaudry and G. Lambert team and has been maintained without interruption until now with support provided by the French Polar institute (IPEV, Institut Polaire Paul Emile Victor), Scientific Research National Center (CNRS / INSU, Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers) and the French Atomic agency (CEA, Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux energies alternatives). CO2 levels measured over the last 40 years rise from 339 ppm over 400 ppm (+18%), resulting in a mean growth rate of about 1.75 ppm/year.

In addition to CO2, other atmospheric measurements have been added or conducted on site such as CH4, CO, N2O, SF6, H2 in flaks (still ongoing). Radon integrated measurements are ongoing since 1981 as well.

CO, CH4 continuous measurements started in January 2012, and N2O continuous measurements started in 2018. Meteorological data are also available for the full period.

TAAF Philately


Measured species

In situ and continuous: CO2, CH4, CO, N2O, O3 and 222Rn

Flasks: CO2, CH4, CO, N2O, SF6, H2.

Meteorological parameters: Temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind speed and direction.


M.Delmotte, M. Lopez, M. Ramonet


Site Web

Relevant publications

Angot, H., M. Barret, O. Magand, M. Ramonet, and A. Dommergue (2014), A 2-year record of atmospheric mercury species at a background Southern Hemisphere station on Amsterdam Island, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14(20), 11461-11473,

Ascencio-Parvy, J. M., A. Gaudry, and G. Lambert (1984), Year-to-year CO2 variations at Amsterdam Island in 1980-1983, Geophys. Res. Lett., 11, 1215-1217.

Baboukas, E., J. Sciare, and N. Mihalopoulos (2002), Interannual variability of methanesulfonate in rainwater at Amsterdam Island (Southern Indian Ocean), Atmos Environ, 36(33), 5131-5139,

Baboukas, E., J. Sciare, and N. Mihalopoulos (2004), Spatial, temporal and interannual variability of methanesulfonate and non-sea-salt sulfate in rainwater in the Southern Indian Ocean (Amsterdam, Crozet and Kerguelen Islands), Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry, 48(1), 35-57.

Balkanski, Y. J., and D. J. Jacob (1990), Transport of continental air to the subantarctic Indian Ocean, Tellus, 42B, 62-75,

Batenburg, A., S. Walter, G. Pieterse, I. Levin, M. Schmidt, A. Jordan, S. Hammer, C. Yver, and T. Röckmann (2011), Temporal and spatial variability of the stable isotopic composition of atmospheric molecular hydrogen: observations at six EUROHYDROS stations, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11(14), 6985-6999, doi:10.5194/acp-11-6985-2011.

Bonsang, B., M. Kanakidou, and G. Lambert (1990), NMHC in the marine atmosphere: preliminary results of monitoring at Amsterdam Island, J. Atm. Chem., 11, 169-178.

Ezat, U., H. Cachier, and P. Buat-Menard (1993), Particulate aluminium and iron in rainwaters at Amsterdam Island (South Indian Ocean), Journal of Aerosol Science, 24.

Gaudichet, A., R. Lefèvre, A. Gaudry, B. Ardouin, G. Lambert, and J. M. Miller (1989), Mineralogical composition of aerosols at Amsterdam Island, Tellus, 41B, 344-352.

Gaudry, A., J. M. Ascencio, and G. Lambert (1983), Preliminary study of CO2 Variations at Amsterdam Island (Territoires des Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises), JGR, 88, 1323-1329,

Gaudry, A., P. Monfray, G. Polian, G. Bonsang, B. Ardouin, A. Jegou, and G. Lambert (1991), Non-seasonnal variations of atmospheric CO2 concentrations at Amsterdam Island, Tellus, 43B, 136-143,

Gaudry, A., P. Monfray, G. Polian, and G. Lambert (1987), The 1982-83 El-Niño: a 6 billion ton CO2 release, Tellus, 39B, 209-213,

Gaudry, A., P. Monfray, G. Polian, and G. Lambert (1990), Radon-calibrated emissions of CO2 from South Africa, Tellus, 42B, 9-19,

Gros, V., B. Bonsang, D. Martin, P. C. Novelli, and V. Kazan (1999a), Carbon monoxide short term measurements at Amsterdam island: estimations of biomass burning emission rates, Chemosphere -Oxford- Global Change Science-, 1(1-3), 163-172,

Gros, V., B. Bonsang, and R. Sarda-Esteve (1999b), Atmospheric carbon monoxide ‘in situ’ monitoring by automatic gas chromatography, Chemosphere, Global Change Science 1, 153-161.

Gros, V., N. Poisson, D. Martin, M. Kanakidou, and B. Bonsang (1998), Observations and modelling of the seasonal variation of surface ozone at Amsterdam Island: 1994-1996, JGR, 103(D21), 28103-28109.

Heimann, M., P. Monfray, and G. Polian (1990), Modeling the long-range transport of 222Rn to subantarctic and antarctic areas, Tellus, 42B, 83-99,

Jabaud-Jan, A., N. Metzl, C. Brunet, A. Poisson, and B. Schauer (2004), Interannual variability of the carbon dioxide system in the southern Indian Ocean (20 degrees S-60 degrees S): The impact of a warm anomaly in austral summer 1998, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 18(1), -.

Jiskra, M., J. E. Sonke, D. Obrist, J. Bieser, R. Ebinghaus, C. L. Myhre, K. A. Pfaffhuber, I. Wängberg, K. Kyllönen, D. Worthy, L. G. Martin, C. Labuschagne, T. Mkololo, M. Ramonet, O. Magand, and A. Dommergue (2018), A vegetation control on seasonal variations in global atmospheric mercury concentrations, Nature Geoscience, 11(4), 244-250, doi:10.1038/s41561-018-0078-8.

Lambert, G., P. Monfray, B. Ardouin, G. Bonsang, A. Gaudry, V. Kazan, and G. Polian (1995), Year-to-year changes in atmospheric CO2, Tellus, 47B, 53-55,

Le Quéré, C., C. Rödenbeck, E. T. Buitenhuis, T. J. Conway, R. Langenfelds, A. Gomez, C. Labuschagne, M. Ramonet, T. Nakazawa, N. Metzl, N. Gillett, and M. Heimann (2007), Saturation of the Southern Ocean CO2 Sink Due to Recent Climate Change, Science, 316(5832), 1735-1738, doi:10.1126/science.1136188.

Long, M. C., B. B. Stephens, K. McKain, C. Sweeney, R. F. Keeling, E. A. Kort, E. J. Morgan, J. D. Bent, N. Chandra, F. Chevallier, R. Commane, B. C. Daube, P. B. Krummel, Z. Loh, I. T. Luijkx, D. Munro, P. Patra, W. Peters, M. Ramonet, C. Rödenbeck, A. Stavert, P. Tans, and S. C. Wofsy (2021), Strong Southern Ocean carbon uptake evident in airborne observations, Science, 374(6572), 1275-1280, doi:10.1126/science.abi4355.

Metzl, N. (2009), Decadal increase of oceanic carbon dioxide in Southern Indian Ocean surface waters (1991-2007), Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography, 56(8-10), 607-619.

Metzl, N., C. Brunet, A. Jabaud-Jan, A. Poisson, and B. Schauer (2006), Summer and winter air-sea CO2 fluxes in the Southern Ocean, Deep-Sea Research Part I-Oceanographic Research Papers, 53(9), 1548-1563.

Mihalopoulos, N., J. P. Putaud, and B. C. Nguyen (1993), Seasonal variation of methanesulfonic acid in precipitation at Amsterdam Island in the Southern Indian ocean, Atmos Environ, 27A(13), 2069-2073.

Miller, J. M., J. L. Moody, J. M. Harris, and A. Gaudry (1993), A 10-year trajectory flow climatology for Amsterdam Island, 1980-1989, Atmos Environ, 27A, 1909-1916.

Monfray, P., A. Gaudry, G. Polian, and G. Lambert (1987), Seasonnal variations of atmospheric CO2 in the Southern Indian Ocean, Tellus, 39B, 67-71,

Monfray, P., M. Ramonet, and D. Beardsmore (1996), Longitudinal and vertical CO2 gradients over the subtropical/subantarctic oceanic sink, Tellus B – Chemical and Physical Meteorology, 48(4), 445-456,

Nguyen, B. C., N. Mihalopoulos, V. Baboukas, J. P. Putaud, and B. Bonsang (1995), Seasonal variation of methane sulfonic acid in precipitation in the Southern Indian Ocean, Annales Geophysicae, 13(Sup II).

Nguyen, B. C., N. Mihalopoulos, J. P. Putaud, A. Gaudry, and L. Gallet (1992), Covariations in oceanic dimethyl sulfide, its oxidation products and rain acidity at Amsterdam Island in the Southern Indian Ocean, Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry, 15, 39-53.

Polian, G., G. Lambert, B. Ardouin, and A. Jegou (1986), Long-range transport of continental radon in subantarctic and antarctic areas, Tellus, 38B, 178-189,

Putaud, J. P., N. Mihalopoulos, B. C. Nguyen, and J. M. Campin (1992), Seasonal variations of atmospheric sulfur dioxide and dimethylsulfide concentrations at Amsterdam Island in the Southern Indian Ocean, Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry, 15, 117-131.

Ramonet, M., and P. Monfray (1996), CO2 baseline concept in 3-D atmospheric transport models, Tellus B – Chemical and Physical Meteorology, 48(4), 502-520,

Sciare, J., E. Baboukas, R. Hancy, N. Mihalopoulos, and B. C. Nguyen (1998), Seasonal variation of dimethylsulfoxide in rainwater at Amsterdam Island in the Southern Ocean: implications on the biogenic sulfur cycle, Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry, 30, 229-240.

Sciare, J., E. Baboukas, and N. Mihalopoulos Factors controlling atmospheric DMS, and its oxidation products at Amsterdam Island in the Southern Indian Ocean, J. Atmospheric Chem., Sous presse.

Sciare, J., E. Baboukas, and N. Mihalopoulos (2001), Short-term variability of atmospheric DMS and its oxidation products at Amsterdam Island during summer time, J. Atmospheric Chem., 39(3), 281-302.

Sciare, J., O. Favez, R. Sarda-Esteve, K. Oikonomou, H. Cachier, and V. Kazan (2009), Long-term observations of carbonaceous aerosols in the Austral Ocean atmosphere: Evidence of a biogenic marine organic source, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 114, -, doi:Artn D15302

Sciare, J., M. Kanakidou, and N. Mihalopoulos (2000b), Diurnal and seasonal variation of atmospheric dimethylsulfoxide at Amsterdam Island in the southern Indian Ocean, JGR, 105(D13), 17257-17265.

Sciare, J., N. Mihalopoulos, and F. Dentener (2000c), Interannual variability of atmospheric dimethylsulfide in the southern Indian Ocean, JGR, 105(D21).

Sciare, J., N. Mihalopoulos, and B. Nguyen (1999), Summertime seawater concentrations of dimethylsulfide in the western Indian Ocean: Reconciliation of fluxes and spatial variability with long-term atmospheric observations, Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry, 32(3), 357-373.

Slemr, F., L. Martin, C. Labuschagne, T. Mkololo, H. Angot, O. Magand, A. Dommergue, P. Garat, M. Ramonet, and J. Bieser (2020), Atmospheric mercury in the Southern Hemisphere – Part 1: Trend and inter-annual variations in atmospheric mercury at Cape Point, South Africa, in 2007–2017, and on Amsterdam Island in 2012–2017, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20(13), 7683-7692,

Williams, J., V. Gros, B. Bonsang, and V. Kazan (2001), HO cycle in 1997 and 1998 over the southern Indian Ocean derived from CO, radon, and hydrocarbon measurements made at Amsterdam Island, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 106(D12), 12719-12725, doi:10.1029/2001jd900116.