European Geosciences Union
School of Natural Sciences
OzFlux is the regional Australian and New Zealand flux tower network that aims to provide a continental-scale national research facility to monitor and assess trends, and improve predictions, of Australia's terrestrial biosphere and climate. This paper describes the evolution, design, and current status of OzFlux as well as provides an overview of data processing. We analyse measurements from all sites within the Australian portion of the OzFlux network and two sites from New Zealand. The response of the Australian biomes to climate was largely consistent with global studies except that Australian systems had a lower ecosystem water-use efficiency. Australian semi-arid/arid ecosystems are important because of their huge extent (70 %) and they have evolved with common moisture limitations. We also found that Australian ecosystems had a similar radiation-use efficiency per unit leaf area compared to global values that indicates a convergence toward a similar biochemical efficiency. The two New Zealand sites represented extremes in productivity for a moist temperate climate zone, with the grazed dairy farm site having the highest GPP of any OzFlux site (2620 gC m−2 yr−1) and the natural raised peat bog site having a very low GPP (820 gC m−2 yr−1). The paper discusses the utility of the flux data and the synergies between flux, remote sensing, and modelling. Lastly, the paper looks ahead at the future direction of the network and concludes that there has been a substantial contribution by OzFlux, and considerable opportunities remain to further advance our understanding of ecosystem response to disturbances, including drought, fire, land-use and land-cover change, land management, and climate change, which are relevant both nationally and internationally. It is suggested that a synergistic approach is required to address all of the spatial, ecological, human, and cultural challenges of managing the delicately balanced ecosystems in Australasia.
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