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Standardisation of eddy-covariance flux measurements of methane and nitrous oxide

Journal article
Authors E Nemitz
I Mammarella
A Ibrom
M Aurela
G. G. Burba
S Dengel
B Gielen
A Grelle
B Heinesch
M Herbst
L Hörtnagl
Leif Klemedtsson
A Lindroth
A Lohila
D. K. McDermitt
P Meier
L Merbold
D Nelson
G Nicolini
M. B. Nilsson
O. Peltola
J. Rinne
M. Zahniser
Published in International Agrophysics
Volume 32
Pages 517-549
ISSN 0236-8722
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 517-549
Language en
Keywords ICOS, protocol, micrometeorology, greenhouse gas exchange, standardisation
Subject categories Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Climate Research


Commercially available fast-response analysers for methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) have recently become more sensitive, more robust and easier to operate. This has made their application for long-term flux measurements with the eddycovariance method more feasible. Unlike for carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour (H2O), there have so far been no guidelines on how to optimise and standardise the measurements. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art of the various steps of the measurements and discusses aspects such as instrument selection, setup and maintenance, data processing as well as the additional measurements needed to aid interpretation and gap-filling. It presents the methodological protocol for eddy covariance measurements of CH4 and N2O fluxes as agreed for the ecosystem station network of the pan-European Research Infrastructure Integrated Carbon Observation System and provides a first international standard that is suggested to be adopted more widely. Fluxes can be episodic and the processes controlling the fluxes are complex, preventing simple mechanistic gap-filling strategies. Fluxes are often near or below the detection limit, requiring additional care during data processing. The protocol sets out the best practice for these conditions to avoid biasing the results and long-term budgets. It summarises the current approach to gap-filling.

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