Strong low-pass filtering effects on water vapour flux measurements with closed-path eddy correlation systems

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2007

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Turbulent water vapour fluxes measured with closed-path eddy correlation (EC) systems are unintentionally low-pass filtered by the system in a manner that varies with environmental conditions. Why and how is described here. So is the practical method that systematically corrects long-term flux datasets for this substantial measurement error. In contrast to earlier studies, a large number of spectra and raw data have been used in the analysis to define the low-pass filtering characteristic of the EC system. This revealed that the cut-off frequency of the closed-path EC system for water vapour concentration measurements decreases exponentially with increasing relative humidity. After correction for this unintended filtering, the fluxes are consistent with CO2 and H2O fluxes that were measured with an open-path sensor at the same time. The correction of water vapour flux measurements over a Beech forest in Soro, Zealand, Denmark, amounted on average to 42% of the measured flux, while it was only 4% for the CO2 flux, which was measured with the same EC system. We recommend using the described method to correct water vapour fluxes measured in any closed-path EC system for unintended low-pass filtering effects. Other than for CO2 is the magnitude of the correction for water vapour flux measurements unsatisfactorily high, i.e. the EC system needs to be technically improved. Our results suggest that such high correction can be avoided by keeping relative humidity in the entire gas transport system of the EC system lower than 30%, e.g. by heating intake filters and tubes. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)140-156
StatePublished - 2007
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 108
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ID: 3249803