Measuring ecosystem carbon, water, and energy fluxes across the Americas
The largest flows of carbon between land and atmosphere come from terrestrial ecosystem photosynthesis and respiration. These flows have profound impacts on atmospheric composition and climate. Through the AmeriFlux Network—a collection of long-term, eddy flux measurement stations located across the Western Hemisphere—carbon, water, and energy flux measurements and site metadata are gathered, processed, and shared with the scientific community.
The AmeriFlux Network is a grassroots, investigator-driven group of scientists. Measurement sites span the full spectrum of ecosystems and climates across the Americas, from the Amazonian rainforests to the North Slope of Alaska. Some sites are strategically clustered to focus on ecosystem response to climate change over gradients of elevation and rainfall; others observe how land-use and agricultural practices affect carbon, water, and energy fluxes.
The Department of Energy supports the AmeriFlux Network through the AmeriFlux Management Project (AMP) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. AMP works with AmeriFlux scientists and sites to ensure the quality and availability of the continuous, long-term ecosystem measurements necessary to understand these systems and build effective models and multisite syntheses.
Key AmeriFlux science goals include:
- Quantifying carbon sources and sinks for diverse terrestrial ecosystems and evaluating how these sources and sinks are influenced by disturbance, land use, climate, nutrients, and pollutants
- Advancing understanding of processes associated with photosynthesis, respiration, and carbon storage in ecosystems
- Collecting observations that promote understanding and modeling of the current global carbon budget
- Enabling improved predictions of future atmospheric carbon concentrations