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Andrew S. Kowalski, Peter M. Anthoni, Richard J. Vong, Anthony C. Delany, and Gordon D. Maclean


Direct interception of windblown cloud water by forests has been dubbed “occult deposition” because it represents a hydrological input that is hidden from rain gauges. Eddy correlation studies of this phenomenon have estimated cloud water fluxes to vegetation yet have lacked estimates of error bounds. This paper presents an evaluation of instrumental and methodological errors for cloud liquid water fluxes to put such eddy correlation measurements in context. Procedures for data acquisition, processing (including correction factors), and calibration testing of the particulate volume monitor (PVM) and forward-scattering spectrometer probe (FSSP) are detailed. Nearly 200 h of in-cloud data are analyzed for intercomparison of these instruments. Three methods of coordinate system rotation are investigated; the flux shows little sensitivity to the method used, and the difference between fluxes at different stations is even less sensitive to this choice. Side-by-side intercomparison of two PVMs and one FSSP leads to error bounds of 0.01–0.035 g m−3 on half-hour mean cloud liquid water content (relative to typical values of 0.35 g m−3) and 2–3.5 mg m−2 s−1 on the surface-normal liquid water flux (typical magnitude of 7 mg m−2 s−1 for these data), depending on which instruments are compared.

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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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