About Ameriflux

About the AmeriFlux Network

AmeriFlux is a network of PI-managed sites measuring ecosystem CO2, water, and energy fluxes in North, Central and South America. It was established to connect research on field sites representing major climate and ecological biomes, including tundra, grasslands, savanna, crops, and conifer, deciduous, and tropical forests. As a grassroots, investigator-driven network, the AmeriFlux community has tailored instrumentation to suit each unique ecosystem. This “coalition of the willing” is diverse in its interests, use of technologies and collaborative approaches. As a result, the AmeriFlux Network continually pioneers new ground.

The network was launched in 1996, after an international workshop on flux measurements in La Thuile, Italy, in 1995, where some of the first year-long flux measurements were presented. Early support for the network came from many sources, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s Terrestrial Carbon Program, the DOE’s National Institute of Global Environmental Change (NIGEC), NASA, NOAA and the US Forest Service. The network grew from about 15 sites in 1997 to more than 110 active sites registered today. Sixty-one other sites, now inactive, have flux data stored in the network’s database. In 2012, the U.S. DOE established the AmeriFlux Management Project (AMP) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to support the broad AmeriFlux community and the AmeriFlux sites.

AmeriFlux is now one of the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research’s (BER) best-known and most highly regarded brands in climate and ecological research. AmeriFlux datasets, and the understanding derived from them, provide crucial linkages between terrestrial ecosystem processes and climate-relevant responses at landscape, regional, and continental scales.

Scientific Questions

  • What are the magnitudes of carbon storage and the exchanges of energy, CO2 and water vapor in terrestrial systems?
  • What is the spatial and temporal variability?
  • How is this variability influenced by vegetation type, phenology, changes in land use, management, and disturbance history, and what is the relative effect of these factors?
  • What is the causal link between climate and the exchanges of energy, CO2 and water vapor for major vegetation types, and how does seasonal and inter-annual climate variability and anomalies influence fluxes?
  • What is the spatial and temporal variation of boundary layer CO2 concentrations, and how does this vary with topography, climatic zone and vegetation?

AmeriFlux Community Goals

  1. Quantify the magnitude of the carbon sources and sinks for a range of terrestrial ecosystems in the Americas, and how they may be influenced by disturbance, management regimes, climate variability, nutrients, and atmospheric pollutants
  2. Advance understanding of processes regulating carbon assimilation, respiration, and storage
  3. Collect critical new information to help define the current global CO2 budget
  4. Enable improved predictions of future concentrations of atmospheric CO2

Read more about the AmeriFlux Management Project, AmeriFlux History, and AmeriFlux People.

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