Future Research Directions

FLUXNET has coordinated regional and global micrometeorological observations for nearly two decades and offered unique datasets on carbon, water, and energy fluxes between the land and atmosphere. Combined with data sources from remote sensing and inventories, FLUXNET has become a key resource for data synthesis to help inform and understand general patterns of ecological processes across time and space. To fully realize the value of FLUXNET, continued developments in data mining and integration with the Earth system modeling community is required to uncover ecological principles responsible for spatial and temporal variations in terrestrial carbon cycle.

Recently, a FLUXNET synthesis workshop was held during July 14-17, 2015 in Beijing, China. This workshop brought together experts in FLUXNET synthesis and terrestrial ecosystem modeling activities to discuss strategies on how to improve model performance by using data mining and data synthesis techniques to assess seasonal dynamics, interannual variability, and spatial variations in terrestrial carbon cycling. The workshop discussed 1) lessons learned from recent synthesis activities of FLUXNET and related data sources, 2) how FLUXNET and other data have been used to improve models, and 3) what will be new opportunities for future synthesis. The workshop also discussed how data synthesis and mining can feedback to design and provide new measurement opportunities and improve model development and benchmarking.

Following the workshops, 2 working groups led by voluntary PhD students are working together and drafting 2 review manuscripts based on the group discussion. The proposed reviews will address respectively 1) the implications of interannual variability in FLUXNET data and its potential unaccounted driving factors, and 2) the 2-3 folds differences in simulated GPP of CMIP5 and the potential causes of the differences.

Currently, we’re planning a conference or workshop among the data producers, synthesis and model user communities (~summer 2017). Past workshops at La Thuile, Marconi, Lake Tahoe, Asilomar, and Berkeley have either launched new datasets or produced synthesis volumes or papers in high-impact journals. Based on this legacy, we intend to produce a set of papers that will constitute the next generation of knowledge produced by the flux network.