Water vapor density and turbulent fluxes from three generations of infrared gas analyzers

Kutikoff, Seth; Lin, Xiaomao; Evett, Steven R.; Gowda, Prasanna; Brauer, David; Moorhead, Jerry; Marek, Gary; Colaizzi, Paul; Aiken, Robert; Xu, Liukang; Owensby, Clenton

Fast-response infrared gas analyzers (IRGAs) have been widely used over 3 decades in many ecosystems for long-term monitoring of water vapor fluxes in the surface layer of the atmosphere. While some of the early IRGA sensors are still used in these national and/or regional eco-flux networks, optically improved IRGA sensors are newly employed in the same networks. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of water vapor density and flux data from three generations of IRGAs – LI-7500, LI-7500A, and LI-7500RS (LI-COR Bioscience, Inc., Nebraska, USA) – over the course of a growing season in Bushland, Texas, USA, in an irrigated maize canopy for 90 d. Water vapor density measurements were in generally good agreement, but temporal drift occurred in different directions and magnitudes. Means exhibited mostly shift changes that did not impact the flux magnitudes, while their variances of water vapor density fluctuations were occasionally in poor agreement, especially following rainfall events. LI-7500 cospectra were largest compared to LI-7500RS and LI-7500A, especially under unstable and neutral static stability. Agreement among the sensors was best under the typical irrigation-cooled boundary layer, with a 14 % interinstrument coefficient of variability under advective conditions. Generally, the smallest variances occurred with the LI-7500RS, and high-frequency spectral corrections were larger for these measurements, resulting in similar fluxes between the LI-7500A and LI-7500RS. Fluxes from the LI-7500 were best representative of growing season ET based on a world-class lysimeter reference measurement, but using the energy balance ratio as an estimate of systematic bias corrected most of the differences among measured fluxes.

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Kutikoff, Seth / Lin, Xiaomao / Evett, Steven R. / et al: Water vapor density and turbulent fluxes from three generations of infrared gas analyzers. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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