Poe, J., D. E. Reed, M. Abraha, J. Chen, K. M. Dahlin, and A. R. Desai. 2020. Geospatial coherence of surface-atmosphere fluxes in the upper Great Lakes region. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 295:108188.
Surface-atmosphere fluxes are known to vary at multiple time scales, but uncertainty is high as to how fluxes change spatially within regions. With an increase in the number of eddy covariance towers, we are now able to examine the geospatial coherence of ecosystem fluxes, using time-series correlation. Eighteen sites from Michigan and Wisconsin were used in this study, ranging from 100 m to 600 km apart. Surface-atmosphere fluxes from a six-month period were used to quantify spatial coherence on a pair-wise basis. Using geospatial statistics, carbon and sensible heat (H) fluxes were found to be 95% correlated directly outside of their flux footprint and 56% correlated up to a distance of ~35 km. Latent (LE) and momentum (τ) fluxes were less correlated, 83% directly outside of their flux footprint and 40% at a distance of ~130 km albeit, at a much larger spatial distance than for the carbon and sensible heat fluxes. All fluxes showed strong spectral resonance at diel and seasonal timescales, with 1-, 2- and 3-month periods being common modes of variability among H, LE, and τ fluxes. Results based on Empirical Orthogonal Function show distinct transitions of net ecosystem exchange from fall to winter before photosynthesis or respiration while H and τ do not exhibit coherent trends. This work demonstrates the potential of quantifying geospatial coherence of surface-atmosphere fluxes in the Midwestern United States, with the ability to predict fluxes beyond the spatial limit of a single flux tower footprint. Ultimately, expanding the flux measurements to larger scales would allow better spatial scaling of terrestrial surface-atmosphere fluxes between tower footprint and modeling or remote sensing scales.
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