To this end, we describe an effort underway to design, evaluate and explore the capabilities of multi-scale, network and wireless, meteorological and environmental sensor arrays. Flexible, self-configuring, easily deployable smart sensor arrays consisting of many tens of affordable sensors will offer researchers an important new tool to measure and scale environmental systems. Lower cost wireless sensors will enable multiple sensors to be combined in a networked array and multiple arrays in use at any one time, providing advanced interwoven and cross-ecosystem sensing capabilities. Quick, flexible deployment options, the option for several types of sensors at a given node, the use of modular and largely off-the-shelf components with flexible measurement capability over varying scales with self organized wireless communication linked to a self organized wired network will provide the flexibility required to adequately sample conditions in the heterogeneous environment presented by complex terrain. Intelligent recognition and response to events (hardware, software and network) combined with sensed components will enable quick, real-time, autonomous diagnosis, comparison, configuration and recovery, allowing sensors to activate intelligently when certain predetermined conditions are detected. Also, the use of GPS allows easy reconfiguration during field experiments when an experimental design flaw is detected.
An example array from the Colorado University Flux Facility at a high-altitude Rocky Mountain station at Niwot Ridge, CO will be presented.