● Target audience: AmeriFlux community, AmeriFlux Science Steering Committee & Department of Energy (DOE) program managers [ARM/ASR (atmosphere), TES (surface), and SBR (subsurface)]
● Problem statement: The atmospheric boundary layer mediates the exchange of energy and matter between the land surface and the free troposphere integrating a range of physical, chemical, and biological processes. However, continuous atmospheric boundary layer observations at AmeriFlux sites are still scarce. How can adding measurements of the atmospheric boundary layer enhance the scientific value of the AmeriFlux network?
● Research opportunities: We highlight four key opportunities to integrate tower-based flux measurements with continuous, long-term atmospheric boundary layer measurements: (1) to interpret surface flux and atmospheric boundary layer exchange dynamics at flux tower sites, (2) to support regionalscale modeling and upscaling of surface fluxes to continental scales, (3) to validate land-atmosphere coupling in Earth system models, and (4) to support flux footprint modelling, the interpretation of surface fluxes in heterogeneous terrain, and quality control of eddy covariance flux measurements.
● Recommended actions: Adding a suite of atmospheric boundary layer measurements to eddy covariance flux tower sites would allow the Earth science community to address new emerging research questions, to better interpret ongoing flux tower measurements, and would present novel opportunities for collaboration between AmeriFlux scientists and atmospheric and remote sensing scientists. We therefore recommend that (1) a set of instrumentation for continuous atmospheric boundary layer observations be added to a subset of AmeriFlux sites spanning a range of ecosystem types and climate zones, that (2) funding agencies (e.g., Department of Energy, NASA) solicit research on land-atmosphere processes where the benefits of fully integrated atmospheric boundary layer observations can add value to key scientific questions, and that (3) the AmeriFlux Management Project acquires loaner instrumentation for atmospheric boundary layer observations for use in experiments and short-term duration campaigns.
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Helbig, Manuel, Tobias Gerken, Eric Beamesderfer, Dennis D. Baldocchi, Tirtha Banerjee, Sebastien C. Biraud, Nathaniel A. Brunsell, et al. “Whitepaper: Understanding Land-Atmosphere Interactions through Tower-Based Flux and Continuous Atmospheric Boundary Layer Measurements.” Ameriflux Whitepaper. Ameriflux, 2020. http://ameriflux.lbl.gov/community/highlight/whitepaper-understanding-land-atmosphere-interactions-through-tower-based-flux-and-continuous-atmospheric-boundary-layer-measurements/.