The BEACHON Project: Regional atmospheric impacts of biogenic emissions (Invited Speaker)

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Monday, 18 January 2010: 11:00 AM
B316 (GWCC)
Alex Guenther, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and the BEACHON Science team

The overall goal of the Bio-hydro-atmosphere interactions of Energy, Aerosols, Carbon, H2O, Organics & Nitrogen (BEACHON) project is a transformational advance in our understanding of bio-hydro-atmosphere interactions and feedbacks that can be incorporated into future earth system models. BEACHON is a collaborative effort including more than 80 participants from over 25 institutions that are building on established energy, water and carbon cycling research programs by integrating studies of reactive organic and nitrogen gases and aerosols. This includes investigations of atmospheric, ecological and hydrological processes; surface fluxes of energy, aerosols, CO2, water, and organic and nitrogen compounds; ecohydrological disturbances and other factors that control the system, followed by efforts to improve their representation in earth system models. The expected outcome is an improved ability to quantitatively characterize the impact of land management decisions and unintended ecohydrological disturbances on biosphere-atmosphere exchange, and the associated implications for ecosystem health, air quality and climate on time scales of months to years. BEACHON has a regional focus on the water-limited landscapes of the Southern Rocky Mountains of North America (including Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona) but is also linked to research efforts in other regions.

Conceptually, earth system connections and interactions are clear. However, the processes controlling this coupled system are highly uncertain and not well quantified, precluding the full incorporation of these processes into earth system models. Although certain aspects have been investigated independently, an interdisciplinary research effort, establishing and quantifying links between these processes and potential feedbacks, is needed to determine whether the biosphere has significant ability to control the earth system through interactions with the atmosphere and hydrosphere. The BEACHON project is advancing quantitative knowledge of these earth system interactions using an approach that includes 1) the establishment of a long-term field observatory suitable for canopy to boundary layer studies of bio-hydro-atmosphere exchange and interactions, including manipulative studies, 2) enhancing existing flux tower networks with additional measurements including biogenic VOC fluxes, 3) development, application and evaluation of regional airborne flux measurements, 4) development, application and evaluation of earth system model components (e.g., land-surface exchange, aerosol production, CCN activation), and 5) education, outreach and knowledge transfer. These efforts are being linked to community field campaigns and long-term observational networks throughout the world.

This presentation will discuss the BEACHON approach for integrating measurements and models on local to regional scales. In addition, initial results from BEACHON observational and modeling activities will be presented and plans for model development and community field campaigns in 2010 to 2012 will be described. Results from process studies will illustrate recent advances in quantitative understanding of the processes controlling biogenic organic emissions. Initial long-term observations from the Manitou Forest Observatory will demonstrate the utility of this site for investigating new particle formation, oxidant sources and sinks, spatial heterogeneity of land surface processes, and biogeochemical cycle responses to precipitation variability. The GLOBal Organic Emissions NETwork (GLOBOENET) will be described and initial results presented will include seasonal and interannual variations at a forested site in Colorado demonstrating the importance of climate, phenology and stress induced emissions. Results from this and other sites will be shown and compared to model predictions. Plans for extending the network and using these observations for evaluating and improving biogenic VOC emission models will be discussed.