Articles | Volume 13
30 Mar 2016
 | 30 Mar 2016

Flux measurements by the NRC Twin Otter atmospheric research aircraft: 1987–2011

Raymond L. Desjardins, Devon E. Worth, J. Ian MacPherson, Matthew Bastian, and Ramesh Srinivasan

Abstract. Over the past 30 years, the Canadian Twin Otter research group has operated an aircraft platform for the study of atmospheric greenhouse gas fluxes (carbon dioxide, ozone, nitrous oxide and methane) and energy exchange (latent and sensible heat) over a wide range of terrestrial ecosystems in North America. Some of the acquired data from these projects have now been archived at the Flight Research Laboratory and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The dataset, which contains the measurements obtained in eight projects from 1987 to 2011 are now publicly available. All these projects were carried out in order to improve our understanding of the biophysical controls acting on land-surface atmosphere fluxes. Some of the projects also attempted to quantify the impacts of agroecosystems on the environment. To provide information on the data available, we briefly describe each project and some of the key findings by referring to previously published relevant work. As new flux analysis techniques are being developed, we are confident that much additional information can be extracted from this unique data set.

Short summary
For 30 years, a Canadian research team has used an atmospheric research aircraft in measurement campaigns to improve our understanding of the controls on land-surface fluxes. The vertical flux of sensible and latent heat, momentum, and several trace gases were measured, along with supporting data. We document the data collected from 1987 to 2011, provide technical details of the measurement campaigns, present interesting results, and describe our approach to make the data publicly accessible.