, Volume 120, Issue 1, pp 65-85
Date: 07 Jul 2006

Consequences of Incomplete Surface Energy Balance Closure for CO2 Fluxes from Open-Path CO2 /H2 O Infrared Gas Analysers

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


We present an approach for assessing the impact of systematic biases in measured energy fluxes on CO2 flux estimates obtained from open-path eddy-covariance systems. In our analysis, we present equations to analyse the propagation of errors through the Webb, Pearman, and Leuning (WPL) algorithm [Quart. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc. 106, 85–100, 1980] that is widely used to account for density fluctuations on CO2 flux measurements. Our results suggest that incomplete energy balance closure does not necessarily lead to an underestimation of CO2 fluxes despite the existence of surface energy imbalance; either an overestimation or underestimation of CO2 fluxes is possible depending on local atmospheric conditions and measurement errors in the sensible heat, latent heat, and CO2 fluxes. We use open-path eddy-covariance fluxes measured over a black spruce forest in interior Alaska to explore several energy imbalance scenarios and their consequences for CO2 fluxes.