Eddy covariance flux towers provide continuous measurements of ecosystem-level net exchange of carbon, water, energy, and other trace gases between land surface and the atmosphere. The upscaling of flux observations from towers to broad regions provides a new and independent approach for quantifying these fluxes over regions, continents, or the globe. The seven contributions of this special section reflect the most recent advances in the upscaling of fluxes from towers to these broad regions. The section mainly stems from presentations at the recent North American Carbon Program (NACP), FLUXNET, and AGU meetings. These studies focus on different aspects of upscaling: (1) assessing the representativeness of flux networks; (2) upscaling fluxes from towers to broad spatial scales; (3) examining the magnitude, distribution, and interannual variability of fluxes over regions, continents, or the globe; and (4) evaluating the impacts of spatial heterogeneity and parameter variability on flux estimates. Collectively, this special issue provides a timely update on upscaling science and also generates gridded flux data that can be used for model evaluations. Future upscaling studies are expected to advance toward incorporating the impacts of disturbance on ecosystem carbon dynamics, quantifying uncertainties associated with gridded flux estimates, and comparing various upscaling methods and the resulting gridded flux fields.


Earth Systems Research Center

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences


American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Document Type



©2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


This is an article published by AGU in Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences in 2012, available online: