Why Use Eddy Covariance to Measure Flux?

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Click here to read a detailed explanation of the science behind eddy covariance and the instrumentation that LI-COR provides for monitoring ecosystem gas exchange.

The eddy covariance technique is the most widely used, accurate, and direct method presently available for quantifying exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, various other gases, and energy between the surface of earth and the atmosphere.

Eddy covariance provides an accurate way to measure surface-to-atmosphere fluxes, gas exchange budgets, and emissions from a variety of ecosystems, including agricultural and urban plots, landfills, and various water surfaces. Emissions and fluxes can be measured by instrumentation on either a stationary or mobile tower, floating vessel (such as a ship or buoy), or aircraft.

Summary of Eddy Covariance

  • Quantifies gas exchange rates (emissions and fluxes) by directly measuring movement of gases in the atmosphere
  • Requires turbulent flow, with winds generally above 0.5 m/s
  • Requires state-of-the-art fast instruments
  • Most direct and defensible
    way to measure flux

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