The eddy-covariance storage term in air: Consistent community resources improve flux measurement reliability

Publication Type: Journal Article

Authors: Ke Xu, Natchaya Pingintha-Durden, Hongyan Luo, David Durden, Cove Sturtevant, Ankur Desai, Christopher Florian, Stefan Metzger

Source: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Volume 279 p.107734 (2019)



In the widely-used eddy-covariance (EC) technique, it is often assumed that the air storage term, i.e. the change of below-turbulence-sensor scalar abundance, is negligible or comprises a small part of net surface-atmosphere exchange (NSAE). Previous studies have demonstrated that this assumption is often violated where non-turbulent processes prevail, and thus it is important to measure and calculate air storage in flux measurements. However, the implementation of air storage measurement and calculation is not ubiquitous as EC standard turbulent flux. In most cases, air storage is not a standard data product or even neglected in EC flux tower measurements. In other cases, air storage term is calculated simply using only the measurements at the tower top. This gap between the ideal initiative and actual implementation motivates us to derive and release one of the first community resources to facilitate the consistent measurement and calculation of EC air storage across sites. These resources include (i) the standardized air storage term measurement setup design at National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) sites; (ii) the development and public release of the eddy4R.stor open-source air storage R-package; (iii) the derivation and public release of storage term data products, measured and calculated consistently across 47 NEON sites; and (iv) exploration the scientific usefulness of these resources through example use cases, specifically the exploration of the bias of the air storage term when different measurement level intensity used and exploration of the air storage term pattern. We expect the consistent air storage measurement and calculation can better serve the overall purpose of the EC technique to provide more reliable measurement of NSAE for the community. This can further benefit the community accurate depiction of the sub-daily to diurnal cycle of surface fluxes in doing carbon cycle flux partitioning, land modeling, and studying ecosystem response to weather extremes.

NEON Author(s):

Hongyan Luo

Research Scientist, Surface-Atmosphere Exchange - Operation and Instrumentation
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