The tower-based CO2 measurements and key meteorological drivers are intended to examine how regional and ecosystem level processes in a mid-latitude forest contribute to global carbon cycling. Specifically, we endeavor to understand quantitatively how and why forested ecosystems take up or release carbon, on time scales from hours to decades, and to elucidate responses to climate changes and management interventions. The tower was installed 1989 and the resulting eddy-flux measurements constitute the longest running record of the net-ecosystem carbon exchange in a North American Forest. The resulting long-term record of Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE) has shown the effects of climate anomalies on carbon fluxes for seasonal and annual time scales. For example, reduced soil frost allows greater respiration in the winter leading to lower C sequestration. Cumulative gross photosynthesis depends on when the canopy emerges in the spring. Warmer springtime temperatures lead to greater uptake of C. As the NEE record is extended and augmented by supporting ecological measurements, we can further identify longer-term effects of climate perturbations on carbon fluxes and further define the relationship between stand history and carbon sequestration. Climatic anomalies in one season or year may have a longer-term effect on the sequestration of carbon in subsequent seasons or years. The flux and ecological measurements are coordinated with studies at other sites through the AmeriFlux network. By examining the relationships between carbon fluxes and the driving physical and biological variables across a range of sites we are enhancing understanding of the processes that control NEE.
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