NEON deploys automated instruments to collect meteorological, soil, phenological, surface water, and groundwater data at NEON field sites.
At all terrestrial sites, a micrometeorological tower collects weather and climate data, including fluxes of carbon, water, and energy between the terrestrial ecosystem and the atmosphere. At stream sites, a riparian meteorological station collects weather and climate data that are comparable to meteorological data collected at terrestrial field sites. At lake and river sites, NEON installs an above-water meteorological station. Precipitation gauges are used to collect precipitation data at all terrestrial sites and some aquatic sites. Primary precipitation is measured using a Double Fence Intercomparison Reference (DFIR), and secondary precipitation is collected using a tipping bucket on the tower. Throughfalls are also placed in the soil array at most terrestrial sites (typically excluding grasslands or sites with very low canopies).
At terrestrial sites, a phenocam is mounted at the top and bottom of each micrometeorological tower to capture above and below canopy phenology. At aquatic sites, one phenocam& collects data that can be used for qualitative estimates of snow cover, riparian characteristics, or weather.
A soil sensor array of five soil plots that are installed near the tower measure physical and chemical properties of soil at various depths, and soil heat flux at the soil surface.
In situ sensor stations at aquatic sites collect surface water quality and depth measurements, including but not limited to temperature, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), turbidity, and dissolved oxygen.
Up to eight wells are installed at each field site. Shallow groundwater wells are installed at most aquatic field sites and equipped with instrumentation to measure water table elevation, temperature, and specific conductance at high temporal resolutions.