Airborne Research and Innovation

Land Atmosphere Interactions

Combining high frequency meteorological and chemistry measurements we are able to study the processes that exchange energy, moisture and trace gases between the land surface, vegetation and the atmosphere.

Our ECO-Dimona's 2019 standard equipmenbt fit includes sensors that allow us to measure the exchange of a number of climatically important properties between the earth's surface and the atmosphere above.

The aircraft's meteorological system includes a fast response turbulence sensor that measures vertical wind many times each second.

By combining the instantaneous vertical wind speed with the corresponding measurement of the property of interest -  for example heat, moisture or CO2 concentration - and performing a statistical analysis over a large number of samples, we are able to estimate the overall rate of flow, or 'flux', of the property through the aircraft's flight line. This method is known as airborne eddy covariance. 

If the aircraft is flying quite low, we can, with a few further corrections, estimate the rate at which the property is being released or taken up by the land surface. In the case of CO2, for example, this might be expressed as the number of grams of CO2 per square meter per second either into, or away from, the land surrface.

Evaluating these results against remote sensing and photographic data products, from onboard systems and other sources such as satellites, we are able to gain new insights into the processes that drive  climate at the landscape and regional scale.

image of aircraft overflying fluyx tower
The ECO-Dimona conducting eddy covariance, Hyytiala Forest Research Station, Finland. Credit R Konigstedt.



view of tall tower from dimona cockpit
The ECO-Dimona BAT turbulence probe provides the core wind measurement for the eddy covariance technique.