" BES Project Abstracts 2006
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2006 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

MIRTHE and the BES: Measurements of the Coupled Water, Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles in Urban Environments
Smith, Jim
Co-Authors: Kathy Szlavecz (The Johns Hopkins University) and Claire Welty (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Abstract: New technologies for monitoring coupled water, carbon and nitrogen cycles in urban environments will be developed as a component of the NSF Engineering Research Center in “Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment” (MIRTHE). The Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) watersheds will serve as a test-bed for development and implementation of new sensor systems. The long-term goal of this project is to develop technology for monitoring stores and fluxes of water, carbon and nitrogen in soils and the lower atmosphere based on quantum cascade laser (QCL) spectrometers. Measurement of coupled water and biogeochemical cycles in urban environments is made especially challenging through the concentration of fluxes during brief periods of time (“hot moments”) and in limited portions of the environment (“hot spots”). A core element of the measurement technology will be eddy covariance systems for monitoring turbulent fluxes of water vapor, CO2, nitrogen species and their isotopic composition in urban environments, using field-based QCL spectrometers. Another core element of the observing technology will be wireless sensor networks for measuring soil moisture and trace gases in the unsaturated zone. Testbed activities in the BES will focus on the Cub Hill Tower study region and the Dead Run watershed.