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Aircraft-Based Flux Sampling Strategies

Field-portable Instrumentation

  1. R.L. Desjardins1,
  2. J.I. MacPherson2,
  3. P.H. Schuepp3

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0903

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Desjardins, R., MacPherson, J. and Schuepp, P. 2006. Aircraft-Based Flux Sampling Strategies. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Agriculture and Agri-Food, Ottawa, Canada

  2. 2

    National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Canada

  3. 3

    McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


One of the essential elements of plant growth is carbon dioxide assimilation and water vapor loss. Measuring the exchange of these gases can provide an accurate picture of plant growth, health, and ultimate yield. This report describes the instrumentation used on the Canadian flux aircraft and the type of data collected for measuring gas exchange over large areas. It presents flux measurements of carbon dioxide, sensible heat (H) and latent heat (LE) using the eddy-covariance technique. This technique provides the most direct measurements of mass and energy exchange at the land–atmosphere interface. Flux measurements obtained over wetlands near James Bay, the boreal forest in northern Saskatchewan, grasslands in Kansas, agricultural crops in California, and over the city of Fresno in California are presented as examples of the potential of this technique to characterize transfer processes over complex ecosystems. The accuracy of aircraft-based flux measurements is examined using data obtained with other aircraft during wing-to-wing formation flights and with several tower-based systems during tower fly-by. Finally, examples of the use of these data for interpreting satellite data and for characterizing the photosynthetic response of a wide range of vegetation are presented.