GIS-tool to optimize site selection for establishing an eddy covariance and robotic tram system at the Jornada Experimental Range (JER), NM

Site selection is critical for establishing eddy covariance and robotic tram systems. These systems measure the exchange of carbon dioxide, water and energy across the land-atmosphere boundary (eddy covariance), and the optical properties of the land surface (robotic tram system). Both technologies have specific requirements that can increase/decrease uncertainty of data. Among them are: flat terrain, homogeneous canopy height, wind speed (>1.5m/s), regional and local representation of land cover types, avoidance of current and historical disturbance and, logistics. Currently, there are no established quantifiable methods or standards to optimize site selection of these systems and the subsequent impact on data integrity remains unknown. A multi criteria analysis was executed following site selection models that have been applied to environmental problems and spatial missions. For this particular scenario, the use of ARCGIS9.2 software allowed to overlay several raster images using a common measurement scale and weights, each according to its importance on the decision tool. The specific aim was to find a local and regional representative landscape of the study area that best fulfills instrumentation requirements, and to reduce sources of random errors by characterizing potential flux footprints variations due to changes in wind speed and direction, topography, and other environmental factors.

Keyword(s): 
Eddy Covariance
robotic tram system
site selection