Site Visits

The Tech Team conducts site visits across the AmeriFlux network to maintain data quality, ensure data inter-comparability, and share technical expertise. The Tech team brings a carefully calibrated portable eddy covariance system (PECS) to AmeriFlux sites, where a side-by-side comparison is conducted. PECS deployments typically last between 10-14 days. Site visits are normally scheduled during the growing season (April-September). The Tech team targets 8-10 site visits per year.

A list of all past site visits is now available. You can also view this information as a map.

Request an AmeriFlux Site Visit

The Tech Team welcomes invitations from AmeriFlux sites. To request a site visit, fill out this online form.

What to expect before, during, and after a site visit

  1. Months prior to visit
    1. Sites visits planned and selected during winter (Dec-Feb)
      1. Initial contact – gauge interest/availability, discuss possible date ranges;
      2. Follow-up – confirm dates;
      3. Send site visit questionnaire (including request for recent data).
    2. Logistics planning
      PECS equipment cases

      PECS equipment cases

      1. Tech Team arranges lodging and transport options;
      2. All costs of visit are covered by the the AmeriFlux Management Project.
  2. 1-2 weeks prior to visit
    1. For site staff:
      1. Ensure site access and normal site operations (data, power, communications, etc)
      2. Confirm access and login credentials to AmeriFlux webpage.
    2. For Tech Team:
      1. Ship equipment (10-16 large cases, 500+ lbs)
      2. Contact staff and confirm arrival and site access dates/plans;
      3. Fall protection permit (if necessary);
      4. Check weather;
      5. Rent appropriate vehicle.
  3. Upon arrival
    Gas analyzer calibration

    Gas analyzer calibration

    1. Meet site staff;
    2. Pickup equipment, purchase supplies;
    3. Calibrate gas analyzers:
      1. Will usually occur the day prior to setup;
      2. Prefer lab setting to conduct calibration, if available.
      3. Bench top and power outlet required.
  4. Setup day
    1. Meet site staff at site;

      site orientation

      Site orientation

    2. Discuss site safety and rules;
    3. Site orientation;
    4. Discuss AmeriFlux setup plans:
      1. Minimize interfering with site operations/instrumentation;
      2. Find optimal location for PECS instruments;
    5. Tech Team can usually complete installation in a single day;
    6. After setup complete, Tech Team will document and photograph.
  5. During visit
    1. Tech Team remain local for duration of visit:
      1. Monitor PECS and ensure data continuity;
      2. May collect ancillary measurements to report to Network;
      3. Assist with BADM and variable information entry;
      4. Available for consulting with site staff.
    2. Mid-visit comparison
      CA-Mer site visit

      CA-Mer site visit

      1. Preliminary data comparison between systems will be conducted and shared with site staff;
      2. Valuable opportunity to identify issues and resolve prior to end of comparison.
  6. Take down day
    1. Tech Team may request site staff assistance;
    2. Post-visit calibration of gas analyzers will be conducted;
    3. Tech Team will arrange transportation and shipment of equipment (but assistance always appreciated).
  7. Post visit – data sharing
    1. Files should include headers, units, metadata;
    2. Description of processing steps, algorithms, and corrections applied. Don’t assume we know.
    3. Do not gap fill data.
    4. 30 minute processed data:
      1. Fluxes, covariances, correction terms;
      2. Statistics (mean, variance) for high frequency variables;
      3. Meteorological, radiation, ancillary data.
    5. High frequency data:
      Wheelbarrow for PECS transport

      Wheelbarrow for PECS transport

      1. Tech Team will conduct independent data processing;
      2. Shared folder can be provided (i.e. Dropbox).
  8. Tech Team report
    1. Site visit reports shared with site staff (and no one else):
      1. Provide key recommendations;
      2. Extensive comparisons, analysis;
      3. Site benchmarked against cumulative record of site visits;
      4. Tech Team data available upon request from site;
      5. Feedback from site staff requested.


Recent visits:

A table of all site visits is available here.