Site Visit Lite


The AmeriFlux Tech Team is introducing a new component to the site visit program called site visit ‘lite’ starting in 2020. The site visit ‘lite’ program was developed from our extensive experience visiting AmeriFlux sites and community feedback at meetings. The primary goal of the program is to scale the site visit program to match the growth of the Network. Our goal is to reach 10% of Network sites annually.

We are not eliminating the previous site visit program (‘comprehensive’ site visits) where we deployed an independent set of instruments (PECS) and conducted side-by-side observations. The ‘comprehensive’ site visit program remains an important and invaluable means to help AmeriFlux sites maintain high quality data. However, that approach was extremely time-consuming and limited the number of sites we could reach.

The new site visit ‘lite’ will focus on a data processing review of the eddy covariance flux calculations performed at the site-level.

Site visit ‘lite’ details and process

*Note that we are actively developing this program and changes may occur. We welcome any feedback.

Initial contact

The AmeriFlux Tech Team will identify prospective sites based on a number of criteria including: recent data submission, duration since previous site visit, participation in Network activities, site request. We will then initiate contact with site teams to gauge interest in participation.

Gather information

A site visit ‘lite’ questionnaire will be shared with site teams to complete. This questionnaire seeks information that is critical for our data review such as site description, sensor information (e.g., model, heights, settings, etc), data processing procedures, and ancillary data. As part of this process, we will assist sites submit biological, ancillary, disturbance and metadata (BADM) information. Lastly, we will request raw and processed data to be provided for a representative period (~1 month).

During this exchange, we will also share and review with site teams a best practices checklist which promotes activities that we have identified help maintain high data quality at AmeriFlux sites.

Data review and analysis

Our team will perform a thorough data processing review based on the data and metadata provided. We will independently-process the raw data and identify any differences between the site- and independently-processed results. Our analysis will also include implementation of quality control measures, review of plausibility and consistently of results, spectral analysis, and other tests. We expect some interaction with the site team during this stage as we iterate through the data review.

Share findings

The AmeriFlux Tech Team will share findings via a written report as well as video conference discussion. We expect a high level of engagement and interaction during this process. Note that any findings and reports will only be shared with site staff.