, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 297-311

Comparison of eddy-covariance measurements of CO2 fluxes by open- and closed-path CO2 analysers

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Abstract

Eddy fluxes of CO2 estimated using a sonic anemometer and a closed-path analyser were, on average, 16% lower than those obtained with the same anemometer and an adjacent open-path CO2 analyser. Covariances between vertical windspeed and CO2 density from the closed-path analyser were calculated using data points for CO2 that were delayed relative to anemometer data by the time required for a parcel of air to travel from the tube inlet to the CO2 sensor. Air flow in the intake tube was laminar. Densities of CO2 that had been corrected for spurious fluctuations arising from fluctuations in temperature and humidity were used in the flux calculations. Corrections for the cross-sensitivity of CO2 analysers to water vapour were also incorporated. Spectral analysis of the corrected CO2 signal from the closed-path analyser showed that damping of fluctuations in the sampling tube at frequencies f > 0.1 Hz caused the apparent loss in flux. The measured losses can be predicted accurately using theory that describes the damping of oscillations in a sampling tube. High-frequency response of the closed-path system can be improved substantially by ensuring turbulent flow in the tube, using a combination of high volumetric flow rate and small tube diameter. The analysis of attenuation of turbulent fluctuations in flow through tubes is applicable to the measurement of fluxes of other minor atmospheric constituents using the eddy covariance method.