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MANITOU: NCAR ACOM Manitou Experimental Forest Observatory Archive


This project contains the NCAR ACOM Manitou Experimental Forest Observatory (MEFO) data archive. There are 13 field campaigns within the NCAR ACOM MEFO data archive but only 12 of those campaigns have data. The data from each campaign is included in separate datasets.  The NCAR ACOM MEFO campaigns with data are BEACHON-ROCS2010, BEACHON-RoMBAS2011, BEACHON-SRM2008, MANITOU2008, MANITOU2009, MANITOU2011, MANITOU2014, MANITOU2015 ,MANITOU2016, RXBURN2015, SPIFFY2015, SPIFFY2016.

The Bio-hydro-atmosphere interactions of Energy, Aerosols, Carbon, H2O, Organics & Nitrogen (BEACHON) project was initiated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)as well as research collaborators from the university community to investigate ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of trace gases and aerosols and their potential feedbacks between biogeochemical and water cycles. One of the project’s primary objectives is to improve the predictability of earth-system models over time scales ranging from minutes to decades. BEACHON is now an ongoing component of atmospheric research sponsored by the National Science Foundation. This interdisciplinary research program integrates local and regional model simulations with remote sensing, regional network observations, and canopy- to regional-scale field measurements. BEACHON includes investigations of atmospheric, ecological and hydrological processes including concentration and flux measurements of energy, CO2, H2O, volatile organic compounds, aerosols, nitrogen compounds, hydrological parameters and feedback processes that are relevant to atmospheric chemistry. Rocky Mountain ecosystems are important for providing water and other resources in the western United States, but contain only a limited number of long-term monitoring sites. This region is predominantly arid or semi-arid resulting in biogeochemical cycles that are water-limited. Since the area contains some of the fastest growing population centers, water limitations (combined with a climate that is projected to be warmer and potentially drier) pose significant societal vulnerabilities (Vorosmarty et al., 2010).

The Manitou Experimental Forest Observatory (MEFO) was established in 2008, in an area representative of a middle-elevation (~2000 - 2500 m ASL). It is a semi-arid, ponderosa pine ecosystem that is common throughout the Rocky Mountain West, but not adequately characterized.


Collect long-term measurements of meteorology, water, carbon dioxide (CO2), and energy fluxes, aerosol size distributions and fluxes, trace gas and cloud condensation nuclei concentrations; Monitor soil moisture, precipitation, snowpack, stable water isotopes, and other hydrological variables to provide input and lateral boundary conditions for Earth-System models and as a basis for making more accurate water resource predictions for this and other semi-arid regions; Provide infrastructure for collaborative research among government laboratories, universities and private companies; Carry out intensive measurement campaigns; Provide training for undergraduate and graduate students and promote multidisciplinary research.

Quick facts:

Location: 39.1006° N, 105.0942° W, 7700 feet ASL (2347 m)
Climate: Mean temperature = 19°C in July and -2°C in January; 17” (432 mm) precipitation per year with 50% occurring during summer thunderstorms.
Vegetation: ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, mixed conifer and aspen. Nearly all woody vegetation surrounding flux tower is ponderosa pine with an open canopy.
Chemistry tower: Walk up type: height, 28m height. Suitable for eddy covariance, gradient measurements, profiles.

Four (4) Mobile Laboratories with 160 ft2 (14.9 m2) space, numerous sampling ports, temperature-control and 20 kW power.

Data access

Datasets from this project

Temporal coverage

Begin Date 2008-01-01 00:00:00
End Date 2016-12-31 23:59:59

Spatial coverage

Map data from IBCSO, IBCAO, and Global Topography.

Maximum (North) Latitude: 39.1006, Minimum (South) Latitude: 39.1006
Minimum (West) Longitude: -105.0942, Maximum (East) Longitude: -105.0942