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A Re-examination of Density Effects in Eddy Covariance Measurements of CO2 Fluxes


doi: 10.1007/s00376-009-0009-0

  • Corrections of density effects resulting from air-parcel expansion/compression are important in interpreting eddy covariance fluxes of water vapor and CO2 when open-path systems are used. To account for these effects, mean vertical velocity and perturbation of the density of dry air are two critical parameters in treating those physical processes responsible for density variations. Based on various underlying assumptions, different studies have obtained different formulas for the mean vertical velocity and perturbation of the density of dry air, leading to a number of approaches to correct density effects. In this study, we re-examine physical processes related to different assumptions that are made to formulate the density effects. Specifically, we re-examine the assumptions of a zero dry air flux and a zero moist air flux in the surface layer, used for treating density variations, and their implications for correcting density effects. It is found that physical processes in relation to the assumption of a zero dry air flux account for the influence of dry air expansion/compression on density variations. Meanwhile, physical processes in relation to the assumption of a zero moist air flux account for the influence of moist air expansion/compression on density variations. In this study, we also re-examine mixing ratio issues. Our results indicate that the assumption of a zero dry air flux favors the use of the mixing ratio relative to dry air, while the assumption of a zero moist air flux favors the use of the mixing ratio relative to the total moist air. Additionally, we compare different formula for the mean vertical velocity, generated by air-parcel expansion/compression, and for density effect corrections using eddy covariance data measured over three boreal ecosystems.
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Manuscript History

Manuscript received: 10 January 2009
Manuscript revised: 10 January 2009
通讯作者: 陈斌, bchen63@163.com
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A Re-examination of Density Effects in Eddy Covariance Measurements of CO2 Fluxes

  • 1. Department of Physics, Atmospheric Sciences & Geoscience, Jackson State University, P. O. Box 17660, Jackson, MS 39217, USA

Abstract: Corrections of density effects resulting from air-parcel expansion/compression are important in interpreting eddy covariance fluxes of water vapor and CO2 when open-path systems are used. To account for these effects, mean vertical velocity and perturbation of the density of dry air are two critical parameters in treating those physical processes responsible for density variations. Based on various underlying assumptions, different studies have obtained different formulas for the mean vertical velocity and perturbation of the density of dry air, leading to a number of approaches to correct density effects. In this study, we re-examine physical processes related to different assumptions that are made to formulate the density effects. Specifically, we re-examine the assumptions of a zero dry air flux and a zero moist air flux in the surface layer, used for treating density variations, and their implications for correcting density effects. It is found that physical processes in relation to the assumption of a zero dry air flux account for the influence of dry air expansion/compression on density variations. Meanwhile, physical processes in relation to the assumption of a zero moist air flux account for the influence of moist air expansion/compression on density variations. In this study, we also re-examine mixing ratio issues. Our results indicate that the assumption of a zero dry air flux favors the use of the mixing ratio relative to dry air, while the assumption of a zero moist air flux favors the use of the mixing ratio relative to the total moist air. Additionally, we compare different formula for the mean vertical velocity, generated by air-parcel expansion/compression, and for density effect corrections using eddy covariance data measured over three boreal ecosystems.

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