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Alan K. Betts, Mike Goulden, and Steve Wofsy


The surface energy balance over a boreal spruce forest is analyzed using 3 yr of 30-min-averaged data collected during the 1994–96 Boreal Ecosystem–Atmosphere Study experiment 40 km west of Thompson, Manitoba, to show the climatic controls on surface evapotranspiration. The seasonal variation of evaporation is shown: lowest in spring when the ground is frozen, highest in summer (although daytime evaporative fractions are only 0.4), and lower again in fall after frost. The surface sensible heat flux in contrast is high in spring, when evaporation is low. Evaporation is much higher when the surface, including the moss layer, is wet. At all temperatures (in summer), evaporative fraction falls with increasing light level, because of the high vegetative resistance of the forest system. Using a Monin–Obukhov formulation and a bulk vegetation model, the vegetative resistance for the boreal spruce forest system is calculated. This bulk vegetative resistance decreases with increasing photosynthetic radiation, decreases sharply with relative humidity, decreases with increasing surface water storage, and is lower on cloudy days than on sunny days with the same incoming photosynthetic radiation. Vegetative resistance at its midmorning minimum is lower by a factor of 4 when the moss surface is very wet. As over grassland sites, the lower surface resistance to evaporation directly influences the diurnal cycle of lifting condensation level and cloud-base height, which are much lower on days with a wet surface. The reduction of vegetative resistance under cloudy skies at the same incoming radiation level presumably reflects the more efficient use of diffuse radiation by the canopy for photosynthesis. Vegetative resistance is roughly doubled in spring, when the ground is frozen, and is higher in fall after frost. About 63% of the observed variance in vegetative resistance can be explained in terms of meteorological variables using multiple linear regression. Some measurement issues are addressed in an appendix. The residual in the energy balance falls with increasing wind speed, which may be due to a small (10%–15%) underestimation of the sensible and latent heat fluxes at low wind speeds. During spring melt, however, this residual has a high daytime value of 30% of net radiation. The residual is also much higher on sunny days than on cloudy days.

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Laura L. Pan, Kenneth P. Bowman, Elliot L. Atlas, Steve C. Wofsy, Fuqing Zhang, James F. Bresch, Brian A. Ridley, Jasna V. Pittman, Cameron R. Homeyer, Pavel Romashkin, and William A. Cooper

The Stratosphere–Troposphere Analyses of Regional Transport 2008 (START08) experiment investigated a number of important processes in the extratropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) using the National Science Foundation (NSF)–NCAR Gulfstream V (GV) research aircraft. The main objective was to examine the chemical structure of the extratropical UTLS in relation to dynamical processes spanning a range of scales. The campaign was conducted during April–June 2008 from Broomfield, Colorado. A total of 18 research flights sampled an extensive geographical region of North America (25°–65°N, 80°–120°W) and a wide range of meteorological conditions. The airborne in situ instruments measured a comprehensive suite of chemical constituents and microphysical variables from the boundary layer to the lower stratosphere, with flights specifically designed to target key transport processes in the extratropical UTLS. The flights successfully investigated stratosphere–troposphere exchange (STE) processes, including the intrusion of tropospheric air into the stratosphere in association with the secondary tropopause and the intrusion of stratospheric air deep into the troposphere. The flights also sampled the influence of convective transport and lightning on the upper troposphere as well as the distribution of gravity waves associated with multiple sources, including fronts and topography. The aircraft observations are complemented by satellite observations and modeling. The measurements will be used to improve the representation of UTLS chemical gradients and transport in Chemistry–Climate models (CCMs). This article provides an overview of the experiment design and selected observational highlights.

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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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