Simplified expressions for adjusting higher-order turbulent statistics obtained from open path gas analyzers

Matteo Detto, G. G. Katul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


When density fluctuations of scalars such as CO2 are measured with open-path gas analyzers, the measured vertical turbulent flux must be adjusted to take into account fluctuations induced by 'external effects' such as temperature and water vapour. These adjustments are needed to separate the effects of surface fluxes responsible for 'natural' fluctuations in CO2 concentration from these external effects. Analogous to vertical fluxes, simplified expressions for separating the 'external effects' from higher-order scalar density turbulence statistics are derived. The level of complexity in terms of input to these expressions are analogous to that of the Webb - Pearman - Leuning (WPL), and are shown to be consistent with the conservation of dry air. It is demonstrated that both higher-order turbulent moments such as the scalar variances, the mixed velocity-scalar covariances, and the two-scalar covariance require significant adjustments due to 'external effects'. The impact of these adjustments on the turbulent CO2 spectra, probability density function, and dimensionless similarity functions derived from flux-variance relationships are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-216
Number of pages12
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Carbon flux
  • Flux correction
  • Higher order statistics
  • Open path gas analyzer


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