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Kathleen E. Moore, David R. Fitzjarrald, Ricardo K. Sakai, Michael L. Goulden, J. William Munger, and Steven C. Wofsy


Temperate deciduous forests exhibit dramatic seasonal changes in surface exchange properties following on the seasonal changes in leaf area index. Nearly continuous measurements of turbulent and radiative fluxes above and below the canopy of a red oak forest in central Massachusetts have been ongoing since the summer of 1991. Several seasonal trends are obvious. Global solar albedo and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) albedo both are good indicators of the spring leaf emergence and autumnal defoliation of the canopy. The solar albedo decreases throughout the summer, a change attributed to decreasing near-infrared reflectance since the PAR reflectance remains the same. Biweekly satellite composite images in visible and near-infrared wavelengths confirm these trends. The thermal emissions from the canopy relative to the net radiation follow a separate trend with a maximum in the midsummer and minima in spring and fall. The thermal response number computed from the change in radiation temperature relative to the net radiation is directly related to the Bowen ratio or energy partition. The subcanopy space follows a different pattern dictated by the presence of the canopy; there the midday sensible heat flux is a maximum in spring and fall when the canopy is leafless, while subcanopy CO2 flux is maximum in midsummer. Subcanopy evapotranspiration did not have a distinct seaasonal peak in spring, summer, or fall. The temperature dependence of the respiration rate estimated from the eddy correlation subcanopy CO2 flux is comparable to that found using nocturnal flux measurements.

The surface energy balance follows a seasonal pattern in which the ratio of turbulent sensible heat flux to the net radiation (QH/Q*) is a maximum in the spring and fall (0.5–0.6), while the latent heat flux (QE) peaks in midsummer (QH/Q* = 0.5). This pattern gives rise to a parabolic growing season shape to the Bowen ratio with a minimum in early August. Growing season changes in the canopy resistance (Rc), related to the trends in the Bowen ratio, are more likely to be predicted using the thermal channels of remote sensing instruments than the shorter-wavelength bands.

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Dennis Baldocchi, Eva Falge, Lianhong Gu, Richard Olson, David Hollinger, Steve Running, Peter Anthoni, Ch. Bernhofer, Kenneth Davis, Robert Evans, Jose Fuentes, Allen Goldstein, Gabriel Katul, Beverly Law, Xuhui Lee, Yadvinder Malhi, Tilden Meyers, William Munger, Walt Oechel, K. T. Paw U, Kim Pilegaard, H. P. Schmid, Riccardo Valentini, Shashi Verma, Timo Vesala, Kell Wilson, and Steve Wofsy

FLUXNET is a global network of micrometeorological flux measurement sites that measure the exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and energy between the biosphere and atmosphere. At present over 140 sites are operating on a long-term and continuous basis. Vegetation under study includes temperate conifer and broadleaved (deciduous and evergreen) forests, tropical and boreal forests, crops, grasslands, chaparral, wetlands, and tundra. Sites exist on five continents and their latitudinal distribution ranges from 70°N to 30°S.

FLUXNET has several primary functions. First, it provides infrastructure for compiling, archiving, and distributing carbon, water, and energy flux measurement, and meteorological, plant, and soil data to the science community. (Data and site information are available online at the FLUXNET Web site, Second, the project supports calibration and flux intercomparison activities. This activity ensures that data from the regional networks are intercomparable. And third, FLUXNET supports the synthesis, discussion, and communication of ideas and data by supporting project scientists, workshops, and visiting scientists. The overarching goal is to provide information for validating computations of net primary productivity, evaporation, and energy absorption that are being generated by sensors mounted on the NASA Terra satellite.

Data being compiled by FLUXNET are being used to quantify and compare magnitudes and dynamics of annual ecosystem carbon and water balances, to quantify the response of stand-scale carbon dioxide and water vapor flux densities to controlling biotic and abiotic factors, and to validate a hierarchy of soil–plant–atmosphere trace gas exchange models. Findings so far include 1) net CO2 exchange of temperate broadleaved forests increases by about 5.7 g C m−2 day−1 for each additional day that the growing season is extended; 2) the sensitivity of net ecosystem CO2 exchange to sunlight doubles if the sky is cloudy rather than clear; 3) the spectrum of CO2 flux density exhibits peaks at timescales of days, weeks, and years, and a spectral gap exists at the month timescale; 4) the optimal temperature of net CO2 exchange varies with mean summer temperature; and 5) stand age affects carbon dioxide and water vapor flux densities.

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