The next generation of FLUXNET aims to extend and expand the previous database that is in circulation—the La Thuile dataset—and to transform and evolve the current websites and data archive and distribution systems. Potentially, there are four major goals:
- The first goal is to produce the next-generation FLUXNET database that integrates carbon, water, and energy fluxes measured at more sites and for a longer period than the previous La Thuile dataset. Data on meteorological conditions and the structure and function of the ecosystems are also provided in a uniform and standard manner.
- The second goal is to re-build and evolve the FLUXNET data archive and data portal system. The new system aims to facilitate housing, archiving, and managing the flux and meteorological data and the metadata. The system also aids the scientist communities in querying, distributing, and tracking the data. This attribute of the data system informs the data producer of who is using the data, facilitates communication between data providers and data users and strives to improve the quality of the interpretation of the data.
- The third goal is to foster collaboration on synthesis activities that improve our understanding on how climate, weather, ecological, physiological and soil factors govern the exchange of carbon, water and energy between vegetation and the atmosphere at multiple time and space scales.
- The fourth goal is to continue recruiting sites and data and to ensure data from diverse regional flux networked are processed in a uniform manner and subjected to a high standard of quality control and assurance. We aim to expand the scope and reach of flux networks to the fields of atmospheric chemistry (e.g., volatile organic carbon compounds), trace gas biogeochemistry (e.g., methane), and ecological restoration.
The visions for the next generation of FLUXNET is based on the experience we learned from previous synthesis works. That is, the vast databases produced by flux networks cannot perpetuate and evolve without continued logistic and intellectual supports for scientists who produce, curate, and use the data. In addition, the actuality of producing and using a dataset takes human intervention to recruit data from different countries and cultures, to build trust to share data in open-access format, to support data users, and to collaborate.