Data from thousands of past and present eddy covariance flux stations are available across the globe, while multiple hundreds actively operating as individual process-level studies, small flux networks dedicated to specific research goals, and larger national and continental networks with broad ecological and environmental foci.
Many flux stations have weather and soil data to help clean, analyze and interpret the fluxes but most do not have optical proximal sensors, do not allow straightforward coupling with remote sensing (drone, aircraft, satellite, etc.) data, and cannot easily be used for validation of remotely sensed products, ecosystem modeling, or upscaling from field to regional levels. The flux source areas themselves (e.g., flux footprints) are typically not defined in the flux datasets, and the time stamps of the fluxes come in a large number of outdated non-trackable formats. Finally, the past ways of the flux data quality control, analysis and interpretation require a participation of micrometeorological expert (or an entire network) with their own custom codes or exceptional skills in using existing software such as MatLab or VB Tools in Excel. These are the key issues effectively preventing a larger environmental research community and remote sensing community from fully utilizing eddy covariance flux data.
In 2016-2020, a set of new tools to collect, process, analyze, time- and space- allocate and share time-synchronized flux data from multiple flux stations were developed and deployed globally. These new tools can be effective in solving most or all of the key issues listed above. The fully automated FluxSuite system combines hardware, software and web services, and does not require an expert to run it. It can be incorporated into a new flux station or added to a present station, using a weatherized remotely-accessible microcomputer, SmartFlux3 which utilizes EddyPro software to calculate fully-processed fluxes in near-real-time, alongside biomet data and flux footprints. All data are merged into a single quality-controlled file timed using PTP time protocol. Remote sensing researchers and modelers without actual physical stations can form “virtual networks” of actual stations by collaborating with tower PIs from different physical networks and flux databases.
The very latest development in this overall approach is the flux data analysis software, Tovi, designed to seamlessly ingest the data from the flux stations and to allow a non-micrometeorologist to quality control, analyze and interpret the flux data. It allows rapid execution of the QC/QA and data analysis steps which have been time-consuming and complicated in the past, and other data analysis steps virtually not doable in the past, all using interactive and intuitive GUI, including advanced footprint calculations and flux apportioning necessary for remote sensing community; NEE flux partitioning; automated generation specific lists of references for each workflow; etc.
This presentation will show how combinations of these new tools are used by major networks, and describe how this approach can be utilized for matching remote sensing and tower data for ground truthing, improve scientific interactions, and promote a better utilization of the eddy covariance flux data by a wider environmental research community.