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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349711

Research Project: Trace Gas Air Standards (Agreement No: GRN170619)

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: Biosphere-atmosphere responses to a total solar eclipse in three ecosystems with contrasting structure and physiology

item WOOD, J - University Of Missouri
item Sadler, Edward
item FOX, N - University Of Missouri
item GREER, S - University Of Missouri
item GUINAN, P - University Of Missouri
item LUPO, A - University Of Missouri
item MARKET, P - University Of Missouri
item ROCHETTE, S - State University Of New York (SUNY)
item SPECK, A - University Of Missouri
item WHITE, L - Jackson State University

Submitted to: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/22/2018
Publication Date: 5/13/2018
Citation: Wood, J.D., Sadler, E.J., Fox, N.I., Greer, S.T., Guinan, P.E., Lupo, A.R., Market, P.S., Rochette, S.M., Speck, A.K., White, L.D. 2018. Biosphere-atmosphere responses to a total solar eclipse in three ecosystems with contrasting structure and physiology [abstract]. Conference on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, May 13-17, 2018, Boise, Idaho. Paper No. 343887. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Mid-Missouri experienced up to 2 min 40 s of totality at around solar noon during the total eclipse of 2017. We conducted the Mid-Missouri Eclipse Meteorology Experiment (MMEME) to examine land-atmosphere interactions during the eclipse. Here, research examining the eclipse responses in three contrasting ecosystems is described. Biosphere-atmosphere exchanges of carbon, water and energy, and turbulence were monitored at eddy flux towers in forest, prairie, and cropland (soybean) sites located within the path of totality. There was variable cloudiness around first and fourth contact at the forest and prairie, however, solar irradiance signals during the eclipse were relatively clean (solar irradiance at first and fourth contact about 750–800 W m minus 2). Unfortunately, the eclipse forcing at the soybean field was contaminated by convective thunderstorm activity, which decreased solar irradiance beginning about an hour before first contact, “smeared” the solar irradiance signal during the eclipse (higher relative contribution of diffuse radiation), and exposed the field to cold outflow about 30 min before second contact. Turbulence was suppressed during the eclipse. The standard deviations of the horizontal and vertical wind velocities, and friction velocities decreased by about 75 percent at the forest (aerodynamically rough), and about 60 percent at the prairie (aerodynamically smooth). The eddy fluxes of energy were highly coherent with the solar forcing. The direction of the sensible heat flux changed during the eclipse and was directed from the atmosphere to the biosphere for about 35% of the time between first and fourth contact at sites not affected by thunderstorms. In contrast, latent heat fluxes approached 0 W m minus 2, but did not change in direction. Although the eclipse imparted large forcings on surface energy balances, the air temperature response was relatively muted (1.0–2.5 degrees C decrease) due to the absence of topographic effects and the relatively moist land and atmosphere (i.e., higher thermal inertia and lower Bowen ratios) versus locations in mountainous terrain or drier landscapes.