Temporal Dynamics of Aerodynamic Canopy Height Derived From Eddy Covariance Momentum Flux Data Across North American Flux Networks

Housen Chu, Dennis D. Baldocchi, Cristina Poindexter, Michael Abraha, Ankur R. Desai, Gil Bohrer, M. Altaf Arain, Timothy J Griffis, Peter D. Blanken, Thomas L. O'Halloran, R. Quinn Thomas, Quan Zhang, Sean P. Burns, John M. Frank, Dold Christian, Shannon Brown, T. Andrew Black, Christopher M. Gough, Beverly E. Law, Xuhui LeeJiquan Chen, David E. Reed, William J. Massman, Kenneth Clark, Jerry Hatfield, John Prueger, Rosvel Bracho, John M. Baker, Timothy A. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Aerodynamic canopy height (ha) is the effective height of vegetation canopy for its influence on atmospheric fluxes and is a key parameter of surface-atmosphere coupling. However, methods to estimate ha from data are limited. This synthesis evaluates the applicability and robustness of the calculation of ha from eddy covariance momentum-flux data. At 69 forest sites, annual ha robustly predicted site-to-site and year-to-year differences in canopy heights (R2 = 0.88, 111 site-years). At 23 cropland/grassland sites, weekly ha successfully captured the dynamics of vegetation canopies over growing seasons (R2 > 0.70 in 74 site-years). Our results demonstrate the potential of flux-derived ha determination for tracking the seasonal, interannual, and/or decadal dynamics of vegetation canopies including growth, harvest, land use change, and disturbance. The large-scale and time-varying ha derived from flux networks worldwide provides a new benchmark for regional and global Earth system models and satellite remote sensing of canopy structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9275-9287
Number of pages13
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 16 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is supported by FLUXNET and AmeriFlux projects, sponsored by U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DE-SC0012456 and DE-AC02- 05CH11231). We thank the supports from AmeriFlux Data Team: Gilberto Pastorello, Deb Agarwal, Danielle Christianson, You-Wei Cheah, Norman Beekwilder, Tom Boden, Bai Yang, and Dario Papale, and Berkeley Biomet Lab: Siyan Ma, Joseph Verfaillie, Elke Eichelmann, and Sara Knox. This work uses eddy covariance and BADM data acquired and shared by the investigators involved in the AmeriFlux and Fluxnet-Canada Research Network. The site list and corresponding refer ences are provided in the supporting information. We thank Claudia Wagner- Riddle, Andy Suyker, David Cook, Asko Noormets, Paul Stoy, and Brian Amiro for providing additional data. All actual canopy height data can be downloaded from AmeriFlux BADM. The R codes and aerodynamic canopy height data can be accessed at http://github.com/chuhou-sen/aerodynamic_canopy_height.

Publisher Copyright:
©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • AmeriFlux
  • canopy height
  • eddy covariance
  • momentum flux
  • phenology


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