Focus Areas

 | 2.1 AmeriFlux | 2.2 FACE | 2.3 NARSTO | 2.4 Ocean Data |

2. Focus Areas

2.1 AmeriFlux

Since 1997, CDIAC has been funded by DOE to provide data management support for the AmeriFlux network. Using the eddy-covariance method, AmeriFlux investigators measure the net flux of CO2 to and from major terrestrial ecosystems. The aim of this long-term, continuous monitoring network is to better understand the factors regulating CO2 exchange, including soil processes; vegetation structure, physiology, and stage of succession; and to determine principal feedbacks that affect future states, such as response to changes in climate, air pollution, and CO2 concentrations.

The scientific objectives of AmeriFlux are to establish an infrastructure for guiding, collecting, synthesizing, and disseminating long-term measurements of CO2, water, and energy exchange involving a variety of ecosystems; collect critical new information to help define the current global CO2 budget; enable improved predictions of future concentrations of atmospheric CO2; and enhance understanding of carbon fluxes, net ecosystem production (NEP), and carbon sequestration in the terrestrial biosphere.

The present AmeriFlux network now comprises approximately 45 sites in Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, and the United States. These sites span a large variety of ecosystems, climate regimes, elevations, and stand ages. For more details on AmeriFlux and related data activities, please visit the AmeriFlux Web site (

The primary responsibilities of the CDIAC AmeriFlux data archive are to continually archive AmeriFlux data; examine contributed AmeriFlux data to ensure quality and consistency; assemble consistent documentation to ensure long-term use of AmeriFlux data; compile ancillary information for each AmeriFlux site [e.g., leaf area index (LAI), land-use histories] for the purpose of creating network-wide databases; and creating and maintaining the AmeriFlux Web site.

The AmeriFlux data archive at CDIAC offers two types of data: preliminary and final. Preliminary data are contributed by AmeriFlux principal investigators (PIs). The file formats and contents are unchanged from their original submission state. Any descriptive files provided are those furnished by the site PIs. The values provided in these preliminary files have been scrutinized by the PIs but are subject to change. Preliminary AmeriFlux data are generously contributed to CDIAC and made available in order to make AmeriFlux data available as quickly as possible. Preliminary AmeriFlux data sent to CDIAC are checked, processed into a consistent data format, and documented by CDIAC before release as a final data set. All data issues investigated by CDIAC are resolved with the contributing PIs, and no values are changed without the approval of the contributing PIs.

2.1.1 Noteworthy Developments During FY 2000

  • The CDIAC AmeriFlux archive was designated as the hub for an FY 2000 validation exercise. Micrometeorological flux measurements from AmeriFlux sites will be used, along with gross primary production (GPP) estimates obtained from the moderate-resolution imaging spectro-radiometer (MODIS) sensor launched December 1999 on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Terra satellite, in the global biome model-biogeochemical cycle (BIOME-BGC) model, and other models, to calculate GPP, NEP, and Net Primary Production (NPP). The model-calculated GPP, NEP, and net primary production (NPP) estimates will then be compared with the same estimates derived from measurements at the individual AmeriFlux sites.

2.1.2 Databases

  • Metolius Natural Research Area for Central Oregon (old-growth ponderosa pine), 1996–1997, data posted October 17, 1999

  • Ponca City, Oklahoma (agricultural crops, wheat), 1996–1997, data posted February 24, 2000

  • Shidler, Oklahoma (tallgrass prairie), 1996–1997, data posted February 24, 2000

  • Walker Branch Watershed, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee (deciduous forest), 1995–1998, data posted March 16, 2000

2.1.3 Preliminary Databases Available

  • Atqasuk, Alaska (moist-wet coastal sedge tundra and moist-tussock tundra), 1999

  • Barrow, Alaska (moist-wet coastal sedge tundra), 1998–1999

  • Happy Valley, Alaska (moist, acidic tundra), 1994–1995

  • U-Pad, Alaska (Moist, wet sedge tundra), 1994–1995

  • Blodgett Forest, California (young ponderosa pine), 1997–1998

  • Sky Oaks Biological Field Station, California [chaparral, unmanaged old (78 years) and young (4 years) sites], 1997–2000

  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida [slash pine, 24-year old stand, mid-rotation stand, and a recently clear-cut (3 year-old) stand], 1998–2000

  • Niwot Ridge, Colorado (subalpine forest), 1998–2000

  • Bondville, Illinois (agricultural crops, alternating corn and soybeans), 1996–2000

  • Howland Forest, Maine (boreal, northern hardwood forest), 1996–1999

  • Harvard Forest, Massachusetts (mixed deciduous forest), 1991–2000 (EC) fluxes and meteorological data; 1992–1995 hydrocarbon measurements; and 1990–1996 trace gas profiles

  • Duke Forest, North Carolina (loblolly pine forest), 1997–2000

  • Little Washita, Oklahoma (rangeland), 1997–1999

  • Fort Peck, Montana (grassland), 1999

  • Wind River Crane Site, Washington (old-growth Douglas fir forest), 1998 fluxes and met data

  • Park Falls, Wisconsin (lowland-wetland forest), 1997–2000

  • Willow Springs Ecosystem Processes Site, Wisconsin (upland hardwood forest), 1998–2000

2.1.4 Web Developments

  • Updated the list of AmeriFlux measurement parameters, standard definitions, and preferred reporting formats and maintained the lists of AmeriFlux sites and participants.


2.2 Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE)


Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) technology provides a means by which the environment around growing plants may be modified to realistically simulate future concentrations of atmospheric CO2. Unlike growth chambers and greenhouses, no containment is required with FACE designs. Previously difficult-to-study natural conditions, such as temperature, precipitation, pollination, wind, humidity, and sunlight, are now possible. In addition, the FACE program reduces or eliminates plant size or growth problems caused by the constraint of enclosures (although the system must be sized, or expandable, to accommodate the anticipated future size of the plants during the lifetime of the experiment). Therefore, long-term studies may be conducted. FACE field data represent plant and ecosystem responses to concentrations of atmospheric CO2 in a natural setting possible during the next century.

FACE research technology creates a platform for multidisciplinary, ecosystem-scale research on the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations over extended periods of time. In doing so, a large amount and variety of high-CO2-grown plant material can be produced to support the research of many cooperating scientists. This would encourage research by teams of investigators, who can study different aspects of an ecosystem's response to CO2 enrichment. This concurrent use by numerous independent scientists provides economies of scale and the potential to gain new insights into ecosystem responses that are difficult or impossible to obtain with smaller scale, enclosed, studies.

CDIAC continued to develop its FACE Web site to support the global network of approximately thirty research sites that are operational, in development, or proposed. During FY 2000, CDIAC updated the links to, and information about, the research sites; updated the list of FACE-related publications; and provided links to news items of interest to the FACE community (including stories concerning the latest FACE research results). Bob Cushman attended the FACE 2000 conference in Tsukuba, Japan, and discussed data and information management with investigators from the various FACE sites.

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2.3 NARSTO Quality Systems Science Center (QSSC)

The tri-national (Canada, United States, and Mexico) NARSTO program (formerly the North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone) has broadened its objectives to include atmospheric pollutants besides ozone. NARSTO is a nonbinding public/private alliance, open to science agencies, regulatory agencies, regulated industries, academic institutions, environmentalists, and public interest groups in North America. Its primary mission is to coordinate and enhance policy-relevant scientific research, assessment, and modeling of tropospheric pollution behavior, with the central programmatic goal of determining workable, efficient, and effective strategies for local and regional air-pollution management.

In January 1997, DOE’s Environmental Sciences Division began their sponsorship of the NARSTO Quality Systems Science Center (QSSC) within CDIAC. The QSSC reports to the NARSTO Executive Steering Committee through the NARSTO Management Coordinator and collaborates with the Science Teams.

The QSSC works to ensure that relevant quality management systems are planned and implemented by NARSTO technical programs. The NARSTO Quality Systems Management Plan (QSMP) ( PDF) and the Quality Planning Handbook (QPHB) ( programs/NARSTO/pdf/qphb_ current_ version.PDF), developed and maintained by the QSSC, provide the framework within which all quality-related activities are conducted.

The QSSC reviews project management and fieldwork planning documents and provides information to NARSTO partners seeking assistance with quality assurance, quality control, data management, and data archival. The QSSC plans and coordinates NARSTO data management, data archival, and data dissemination activities. Timely sharing of, and access to, quality-assured NARSTO data and research products (e.g., computer models, methods, procedures, and reports) by the scientific community is essential to the success of the NARSTO program. The QSSC developed and maintains the NARSTO Data Management Handbook (DMHB) ( that contains data format conventions, data validation guidance, and data archive transfer format specifications. The QSSC performs a final quality assurance check of data sets submitted for archival, prepares archive documentation, and coordinates their transfer to the publicly available NARSTO permanent data archive (PDA) at the NASA Langley Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC). Data are online at

NARSTO quality systems and data management documents are available online at

In addition to these quality and data management activities, the QSSC continues to develop the NARSTO Measurement Methods Compendium Web site for ozone and particulate matter sampling and analysis technologies and methodologies. Method descriptions are available online at

QSSC staff expertise includes atmospheric chemistry, quality systems management, environmental data quality management, and data management coordination.

The FY 2000 QSSC’s activities fall into three general areas: data management and archiving, data management support for projects, and external interactions.

2.3.1 Data Management and Archiving

The QSSC implemented The NARSTO Data and Information Sharing Tool (DIST). DIST is a Web-based index and clearinghouse of atmospheric measurement, chemistry data, and metadata. It can be used by a small group of investigators to securely share project data before the data are generally available, as well as allow the larger research community to locate and access data from numerous data sources in the public domain. The data in the NARSTO DIST includes results from NARSTO studies and non-NARSTO studies with data of interest to the atmospheric research community. Data are indexed using consistent metadata categories to support searching by project, location, date, keyword, investigator, etc. Projects and investigators with relevant data products (e.g., measurement data, model outputs, images, etc.) are invited to participate. Data providers can use the Web-based DIST to conveniently enter metadata and to link their data and documents into the searchable DIST index. A File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site is now associated with DIST for storage and retrieval of data sets. DIST is a key component in the flow of data from projects to the NARSTO PDA with output capabilities that facilitate metadata and data archiving.

2.3.2 Data Management Support for Projects

The QSSC provides assistance to NARSTO research managers, principal investigators, and data managers. A good example of this is our work with the Central California Air Quality Study database managers.

The QSSC is also providing data management support to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Particulate Matter (PM) Supersites Program. In consultation with EPA and the Data Coordinators of the Supersite projects, the QSSC, with the financial support of EPA, is coordinating the following activities:

  1. Support for development and maintenance of a consistent set of metadata for the Supersites measurement data. Metadata are the data that describe, for measured results, the important details as to: what, where, when, how, why, and by whom. Several working groups were initially established to develop consensus on formats for site names, variable names, units, methods, and flags. Weekly teleconference discussions keep the process moving. The Supersites Program will be providing quality-assured data to the QSSC for archiving in accordance with the published NARSTO guidelines.

  2. Implementation of the NARSTO DIST for the Supersites Program to support sharing of data among investigators and to use DIST’s output capabilities to facilitate data archiving. The addition of new features and modifications to metadata will be made as necessary for effective implementation. The addition of new DIST users, system administration, and user support is included in this support.

  3. Implementation of a Supersites FTP Site to support the sharing of data using DIST among Supersites Program participants. Supersite project data coordinators may add and maintain data on the FTP site to allow program-wide access to data, while not permitting access to secure project systems.

To address these activities in a coordinated and efficient manner, the QSSC and the Supersites working groups are utilizing the considerable technical, measurement, and data management knowledge and system resources that already exist across the Supersites projects, NARSTO, EPA, and externally. Other NARSTO, EPA, and similar atmospheric research projects are encouraged to take advantage of these results and contribute their experience and data. This coordinated effort, envisioned as a model for future cooperation, is a prime example of why NARSTO was formed and how it can function.

2.3.3 External Interactions

QSSC promotes coordination of NARSTO Data Exchange standards and automated processing programs with Bill Sukloff of the Atmospheric Environment Service (AES) of Canada. We continue to utilize existing resources (people and software) to the benefit of both programs. The QSSC cosponsored a 10-day visit by Bill Sukloff for this purpose.

2.3.4 Meetings Attended

Les Hook, Director of the NARSTO QSSC, attended the Joint Annual Meeting of the NARSTO Executive Assembly and Executive Steering Committee, March 8–9, 2000, at the White House Conference Center, in Washington, D.C. He presented a report entitled "NARSTO Quality Systems and Data Management Activities". The report summarized QSSC responsibilities and activities for the past year, previewed planned activities, and described the recently implemented NARSTO DIST that will be used by NARSTO Technical Programs.

Les Hook and Meng-Dawn Cheng represented NARSTO’s QSSC at the NARSTO 2000 meeting "Tropospheric Aerosols Science and Decisions in an International Community" held in Queretaro, Mexico. Les co-chaired the Data Management/Quality session, presented "The NARSTO Data and Information Sharing Tool", and displayed a poster, "The Truth about Data Management" (both the presentation and poster were co-authored with Sigurd Christensen). Meng-Dawn presented "Real-Time Emission Measurement of Fine Particulates and Heavy Metals" (co-authored with Madhavi Martin and Thomas Wainman, also of the ORNL Environmental Sciences Division) in the session on Stationary Sources/Controls.

2.4 Ocean Data


The World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) Hydrographic Program (WHP) is a major component of the World Climate Research Program with the overall goal of better understanding the ocean’s role in climate and climatic changes resulting from both natural and anthropogenic causes. The levels of CO2 in the oceans are unevenly distributed because of complex circulation patterns and biogeochemical cycles. Although CO2 is not an official WOCE measurement, a coordinated effort, supported in the U.S. by DOE, was made on WOCE cruises through 1998 to measure the global-scale and temporal distributions of total carbon dioxide (TCO2) and related parameters.

Goals of the survey were to estimate the meridional transport of inorganic carbon in a manner analogous to the estimation of the transport of oceanic heat and to build a database suitable for carbon cycle modeling and the estimation of anthropogenic CO2 increase in the oceans. The CO2 survey took advantage of the sampling opportunities provided by the WHP cruises during this period. The final data set is expected to cover approximately 23,000 stations from 42 WOCE cruises.

CDIAC provides data management support for the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) CO2 measurements taken aboard research vessels during WHP cruises. DOE sponsored CO2 measurement operations and continues to sponsor CDIAC’s data support activities, which include data archival, data checking and evaluation, preparation of data documentation, and data dissemination. All CO2-related data are checked before documentation and distribution. Through the end of FY 2000, DOE-supported investigators had collected CO2 measurements on 42 WOCE cruises. CDIAC has received data from 40 of these cruises, and 35 of these data sets have undergone quality assurance checks with 17 fully documented as numeric data products (NDPs).

CDIAC provides data management support for the GLobal Ocean Data Analysis Project (GLODAP). GLODAP is a cooperative effort of investigators funded for synthesis and modeling projects through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), DOE, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Cruises conducted as part of the WOCE, JGOFS, and the NOAA Ocean-Atmosphere Carbon Exchange Study (OACES) over the decade of the 90’s have generated oceanographic data of unparalleled quality and quantity.

Most of the data have been reported to national archive facilities but have not been integrated into an internally consistent global data set. GLODAP will compile that data set and examine the global distribution and inventories of oxygen, nutrients, natural and anthropogenic carbon species, natural and bomb-produced radiocarbon, and 13C. These estimates will be used to infer nutrient remineralization ratios (Redfield ratios) and the rate of anthropogenic CO2, 13C, and bomb 14C uptake in the oceans. These estimates provide an important benchmark for comparison with future observational studies. They also provide tools for the direct evaluation of numerical ocean carbon models.

CDIAC provides data management support for the project CARINA (CARbon dioxide In the North Atlantic ocean) which emerged from a workshop on "CO2 in the northern North Atlantic," held June 1999 in Delmenhorst, Germany.

The CARINA objectives are:

  • to bring together research groups that measure CO2 in the North Atlantic Ocean;
  • to create an inventory of CO2 measurements carried out in the North Atlantic Ocean;
  • to make available unpublished data to the data contributors (data access);
  • to form working groups that cooperate on various aspects of the CO2 system in the North Atlantic; and
  • to exchange information concerning CO2 research in the North Atlantic.

CDIAC also plays a major role in the CO2 data management for the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) Working Group 13 (WG-13). The main goal of the WG-13 is to work with the data centers [Japan Oceanographic Data Center (JODC), National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), CDIAC, Marine Environmental Data Service (MEDS), et al.] to complete an International North Pacific data set for CO2 and CO2-related parameters and to encourage PICES countries (Japan, South Korea, China, Canada, Russia, and United States) and non-PICES countries to contribute data and information on data to the PICES data inventory.

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|  Introduction   |  Focus AreasData and Information Products |  Information Services |
Computer Systems Development
| CDIAC Presentations, Publications, and Awards
Selected CDIAC Citations
| Collaborations |  Acronyms and Abbreviations|

CDIACCarbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 
U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, TN  USA 
Tel:  (865) 574-0390 FAX:  (865) 574-2232      Internet:

Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center  ORNL Environmental Sciences Division  Oak Ridge National Laboratory  United States Department of Energy