The BOREAS Information System

Objectives of the BOREAS Experiment

The overall goal of BOREAS is to improve our understanding of the interactions between the boreal forest biome and the atmosphere, clarifying their roles in global change. The experimental phase of BOREAS will run over three years, 1993-1996. Obviously, this is too short a period to directly measure the ongoing effects of global change, but it will allow us to observe important processes under a wide range of conditions so that we can develop and test key process models. The experimental strategy is specifically directed toward this -- measurements will be taken throughout the annual cycle and at a variety of 'representative' sites to capture the range of significant climatic, edaphic (soil) and ecophysiological conditions to be found within the biome. Initially, these measurements will be used to improve our models and apply them over large areas. If this can be done successfully for several annual cycles, we will use them as better predictive tools to address the scientific issues listed above. In addition, the knowledge gained should enable us to design better, more cost-effective long-term monitoring programs to track future changes in the biome. The governing objectives of BOREAS can therefore be stated as follows:

  1. Improve the process models which describe the exchanges of radiative energy, water, heat, carbon and trace constituents between the boreal forest and the atmosphere. We measure the fluxes of energy (radiation, heat) and mass (water, CO2 and important trace gases) over a wide range of spatial scales together with observations of the ecological, biogeochemical, and atmospheric conditions controlling them. These data will be used to develop and thoroughly test process models before we apply them to the 'global change' issues described above. The initial focus will be on validation and improvement of local-scale energy balance, mass balance and biophysical process models that operate at relatively short time scales (seconds to seasons) and which are amenable to measurement within a two year field program. The results of this effort will also be useful for the study of ecosystem level dynamics and land surface/climate interactions at regional and local scales over longer time periods (years to decades). The field observations which support this model development include measurements of water, CO2 and trace gas fluxes at the plot or leaf scale (chambers, porometers), the stand scale (tower mounted devices) and the mesoscale (airborne eddy correlation). These measurements will be coordinated with a series of ecological, meteorological and edaphic observations which will link these fluxes to appropriate state variables.

  2. Develop methods for applying the process models over large spatial scales using remote sensing and other integrative modeling techniques. The process studies described in (1) above have been coordinated with remote sensing investigations using satellite, airborne and surface-based instruments which focus on methods for quantifying the critical state variables. These remote sensing studies, combined with mesoscale meteorological studies, will allow us to scale-up and apply the process models at regional and ultimately global scales. Some large-scale validation techniques were incorporated in the experiment design to test our scale-integration methods directly, including airborne eddy correlation and meteorological observation and modeling.

Read other documents:
E-Mail a comment on this page to the curator
Return to the BOREAS Home Page
Last Updated: April 22, 1997