Canadian Forest Service Publications

Assessing tower flux footprint climatology and scaling between remotely sensed and eddy covariance measurements. 2009. Chen, B.; Black, T.A.; Coops, N.C.; Hilker, T.; Trofymow, J.A.; Morgenstern, K. Boundary-Layer Meteorology 130(2): 137-167.

Year: 2009

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 29570

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1007/s10546-008-9339-1

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We describe pragmatic and reliable methods to examine the influence of patch-scale heterogeneities on the uncertainty in long-term eddy-covariance (EC) carbon flux data and to scale between the carbon flux estimates derived from land surface optical remote sensing and directly derived from EC flux measurements on the basis of the assessment of footprint climatology. Three different aged Douglas-fir stands with EC flux towers located on Vancouver Island and part of the Fluxnet Canada Research Network were selected. Monthly, annual and interannual footprint climatologies, unweighted or weighted by carbon fluxes, were produced by a simple model based on an analytical solution of the Eulerian advection-diffusion equation. The dimensions and orientation of the flux footprint depended on the height of the measurement, surface roughness length, wind speed and direction, and atmospheric stability. The weighted footprint climatology varied with the different carbon flux components and was asymmetrically distributed around the tower, and its size and spatial structure significantly varied monthly, seasonally and inter-annually. Gross primary productivity (GPP) maps at 10-m resolution were produced using a tower-mounted multi-angular spectroradiometer, combined with the canopy structural information derived from airborne laser scanning (Lidar) data. The horizontal arrays of footprint climatology were superimposed on the 10-m-resolution GPP maps. Monthly and annual uncertainties in EC flux caused by variations in footprint climatology of the 59-year-old Douglas-fir stand were estimated to be approximately 15–20% based on a comparison of GPP estimates derived from EC and remote sensing measurements, and on sensor location bias analysis. The footprint-variation-induced uncertainty in long-term EC flux measurements was mainly dependent on the site spatial heterogeneity. The bias in carbon flux estimates using spatially-explicit ecological models or tower-based remote sensing at finer scales can be estimated by comparing the footprint-weighted and EC-derived flux estimates. This bias is useful for model parameter optimizing. The optimization of parameters in remote-sensing algorithms or ecosystem models using satellite data will, in turn, increase the accuracy in the upscaled regional carbon flux estimation.