Skip to Main Content
Concerning the measurement of atmospheric trace gas fluxes with open- and closed-path eddy covariance systems: The density terms and spectral attenuation [Chapter 7]Author(s): W. J. Massman
Source: In: Lee, X.; Massman, W. J.; Law, B. E. Handbook of Micrometeorology: A Guide to Surface Flux Measurements. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. p. 87-111.
Publication Series: Book Chapter
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (194.24 KB)
DescriptionAtmospheric trace gas fluxes measured with an eddy covariance sensor that detects a constituent's density fluctuations within the in situ air need to include terms resulting from concurrent heat and moisture fluxes, the so called 'density' or 'WPL corrections' (Webb et al. 1980). The theory behind these additional terms is well established. But, virtually no studies to date have examined the constraints imposed on the theory by different instrumentation technologies and by limitations inherent to eddy covariance systems. This study extends the original WPL theory by examining how eddy covariance instrumentation, particularly spectral attenuation and an instrument's basic technology, influences the application of this theory to flux measurement. Specific issues discussed here include the importance of static pressure fluctuations to the WPL theory, the possible systematic overestimation of the WPL vapor term, and the transfer functions associated with signal processing and volume averaging effects of a fast-response closed-path CO2/H2O sensor. This different perspective on the WPL theory suggests that current methods of applying the WPL theory, particularly with closed-path systems, can yield significant biases in the annual carbon balance derived from eddy covariance technology and can cause the surface energy imbalance to increase with increasing wind speed. Furthermore, it is suggested that spectral corrections should be made before applying the WPL theory to estimate fluxes and that high frequency point-by-point conversions from mass density to mixing ratio is not the preferred method for estimating fluxes by eddy covariance.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationMassman, W. J. 2004. Concerning the measurement of atmospheric trace gas fluxes with open- and closed-path eddy covariance systems: The density terms and spectral attenuation [Chapter 7]. In: Lee, X.; Massman, W. J.; Law, B. E. Handbook of Micrometeorology: A Guide to Surface Flux Measurements. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. p. 87-111.
Keywordsatmospheric trace gas fluxes, eddy covariance systems
- A simple method for estimating frequency response corrections for eddy covariance systems
- Eddy covariance measurements with a new fast-response, enclosed-path analyzer: Spectral characteristics and cross-system comparisons
- Consequences of incomplete surface energy balance closure for CO2 fluxes from open-path CO2/H2O infrared gas analyzers
XML: View XML