A regional-scale observational experiment designed to address how the atmospheric boundary layer responds to spatial heterogeneity in surface energy fluxes.


The Chequamegon Heterogeneous Ecosystem Energy-balance Study Enabled by a High-density Extensive Array of Detectors 2019 (CHEESEHEAD19) is an ongoing National Science Foundation project based on an intensive field campaign that occurred from June-October 2019. The purpose of the study is to examine how the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) responds to spatial heterogeneity in surface energy fluxes. One of the main objectives is to test whether lack of energy balance closure measured by eddy covariance (EC) towers is related to mesoscale atmospheric processes. Finally, the project evaluates data-driven methods for scaling surface energy fluxes, with the aim to improve model-data comparison and integration.

To address these questions, an extensive suite of ground, tower, profiling, and airborne instrumentation was deployed over a 10×10 km domain of a heterogeneous forest ecosystem in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin USA, centered on an existing 447-m tower that anchors an AmeriFlux/NOAA supersite (US-PFa / WLEF). The project deployed one of the world’s highest-density networks of above-canopy EC measurements of surface energy fluxes. This tower EC network was coupled with spatial measurements of EC fluxes from aircraft, maps of leaf and canopy properties derived from airborne spectroscopy, ground-based measurements of plant productivity, phenology, and physiology, and atmospheric profiles of wind, water vapor, and temperature using radar, sodar, lidar, microwave radiometers, infrared interferometers, and radiosondes. These observations are being used with large eddy simulation and scaling experiments to better understand sub-mesoscale processes and improve formulations of sub-grid scale processes in numerical weather and climate models.

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