Estimating nocturnal ecosystem respiration from the vertical turbulent flux and change in storage of CO2 Academic Article uri icon


  • Micrometeorological measurements of nighttime ecosystem respiration can be systematically biased when stable atmospheric conditions lead to drainage flows associated with decoupling of air flow above and within plant canopies. The associated horizontal and vertical advective fluxes cannot be measured using instrumentation on the single towers typically used at micrometeorological sites. A common approach to minimize bias is to use a threshold in friction velocity, u *, to exclude periods when advection is assumed to be important, but this is problematic in situations when in-canopy flows are decoupled from the flow above. Using data from 25 flux stations in a wide variety of forest ecosystems globally, we examine the generality of a novel approach to estimating nocturnal respiration developed by van Gorsel et al. (van Gorsel, E., Leuning, R., Cleugh, H.A., Keith, H., Suni, T., 2007. Nocturnal carbon efflux: reconciliation of eddy covariance and chamber measurements using an alternative to the u * -threshold filtering technique. Tellus 59B, 397-403, Tellus, 59B, 307-403). The approach is based on the assumption that advection is small relative to the vertical turbulent flux (F C ) and change in storage (F S ) of CO 2 in the few hours after sundown. The sum of F C and F S reach a maximum during this period which is used to derive a temperature response function for ecosystem respiration. Measured hourly soil temperatures are then used with this function to estimate respiration R Rmax . The new approach yielded excellent agreement with (1) independent measurements using respiration chambers, (2) with estimates using ecosystem light-response curves of F c + F s extrapolated to zero light, R LRC , and (3) with a detailed process-based forest ecosystem model, R cast . At most sites respiration rates estimated using the u * -filter, R ust , were smaller than R Rmax and R LRC . Agreement of our approach with independent measurements indicates that R Rmax provides an excellent estimate of nighttime ecosystem respiration. 2009 Elsevier B.V.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • van Gorsel, E., Delpierre, N., Leuning, R., Black, A., Munger, J. W., Wofsy, S., ... Wharton, S.

citation count

  • 89

complete list of authors

  • van Gorsel, Eva||Delpierre, Nicolas||Leuning, Ray||Black, Andy||Munger, J William||Wofsy, Steven||Aubinet, Marc||Feigenwinter, Christian||Beringer, Jason||Bonal, Damien||Chen, Baozhang||Chen, Jiquan||Clement, Robert||Davis, Kenneth J||Desai, Ankur R||Dragoni, Danilo||Etzold, Sophia||Gr├╝nwald, Thomas||Gu, Lianhong||Heinesch, Bernhard||Hutyra, Lucy R||Jans, Wilma WP||Kutsch, Werner||Law, BE||Leclerc, Monique Y||Mammarella, Ivan||Montagnani, Leonardo||Noormets, Asko||Rebmann, Corinna||Wharton, Sonia

publication date

  • November 2009