Climate and atmosphere have a strong impact on ecosystems across the continental United States. NEON will make constant, automated measurements of these systems using electronic sensors mounted on towers and aquatic arrays in natural and managed areas. The instruments will monitor physical and chemical climate properties, including:
Fluxes between ecosystems and the atmosphere—because chemicals and pollutants that are introduced into the atmosphere can impact the capacity of ecosystems to supply food, fuel, and fiber.
Canopy microclimate—because the uppermost level of a forest, the canopy, has variations of climate, vegetation, and animals that are of special scientific interest.
Air pollution—because dust and pollutants caused by human activity can have significant impacts on the health and productivity of ecosystems.
Carbon—because increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere indicate that the amount of carbon released exceeds the Earth’s capacity to absorb it, an important factor in global warming
Freshwater - because changes in chemistry and the volume of surface and subsurface waters can impact availability and quality of water for drinking, recreation, agriculture, and industry in downstream areas.
Additional sensors located near each tower will record soil properties, such as moisture and temperature, and measure water chemistry. Because these measurements are fundamental to our understanding of continental-scale ecology, we refer to them as the NEON Fundamental Instrument Unit (FIU).
Webinar with the FIU Working Groups describing the current status of FIU, as well as future pathways (7 July 2011)
The National Ecological Observatory Network is a project solely funded by the National Science Foundation and managed under cooperative agreement by NEON, Inc. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.