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Jasper Ridge Eddy Flux station

Chris Field and Joe Berry (Carnegie Institution, Department of Global Ecology)

Summary

The Jasper Ridge Eddy Flux Site continuously measures fluxes of water vapor and carbon dioxide between the grassland and the atmosphere, in addition to monitoring a wide array of meteorological parameters such as wind, temperature, net solar radiation, and barometric pressure. These parameters are recorded every second, and sent to campus hourly by radio frequency transmission. The station is powered by a photovoltaic system that charges 12-volt batteries, with a propane generator for back-up. The station was first set up in 1998. 

The station is part of both a national and an international network of similar sites whose data are used to understand the mechanisms controlling carbon, water, and energy fluxes in different environments. Studies use these data to address questions such as: 1) how do different ecosystems respond to environmental changes? 2) how do changes in ecosystem metabolism feed back to affect the environment? and 3) are natural ecosystems in equilibrium with respect to carbon gain and loss, or are they progressively storing more carbon? The goal is to address these questions across different time scales and spatial scales. With over 250 stations in the international network, data from these stations also provide ground information to compare with estimates of net primary production, evaporation, and energy absorption derived from remote-sensing instruments on satellites and aircraft. 

A particular goal of the Jasper Ridge station is to use the data as inputs to models for predicting possible impacts of global change on grassland ecosystems. Ying Ping Wang (from CSIRO in Australia) is combining data from this station with results from the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment to help predict seasonal and annual responses to the global environmental changes imposed as treatments in that experiment. 
 

Left: shed interior with controls and computer. Right: Sample flux data from website.