The Biometeorology Research Facilities

The following facilities are available to support scientific research and educational training activities related to biometeorology and land-atmosphere science:

Lab, Experiment Station, Mesocosms, and Tall Tower

The biometeorology Lab is located in the Soil Science Building, Room 332 and 326 on the Saint Paul Campus at the University of Minnesota. The lab is used for building and testing micrometeorological equipment, calibrating standard gases, processing soil and plant samples, leaf and soil water extractions, and isotope ratio analysis of water samples.

The University of Minnesota Rosemount Research and Outreach Center (RROC/UMORE PARK) has existing infrastructure including laboratory facilities, workshop, three micrometeorological towers (part of the AmeriFlux network)and two portable research trailers equipped with AC power, air conditioning and heating for maintaing sensitive field instrumentation. RROC manage large fields that are ideal for micrometeorological investigations.

The University of Minnesota Mesocosm Facility consists of 12 identical steady-state mesocosms equipped with unprecedented environmental control and analytical capability, each having a large rhizotron (Group DHB, Quebec, Canada, dimensions 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.35 m) with a transparent canopy cover. Independent environmental controls include photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), air and soil temperature, soil water content and water table depth, wind speed, humidity, and atmospheric gases (CO2 and O3). The system is being custom designed by our research team. Testing is currently underway (http://www.mesocosms.umn.edu/).

Computing

Dell Optiplex GX240 computer are available in the Biometeorology Lab/Offices for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students. A Matlab (The Mathworks Inc.) site license is available from computing services for all computers for data analysis, modeling and teaching. The Supercomputing Facility at the University of Minnesota includes IBM SP and SGI Origin 2000 systems. These systems run Matlab and are available for data storage, analysis and modeling. The Soil, Water, and Climate Atmospheric Science Group share a computer cluster. It consists of 96 compute cores (12 nodes with 2 quad-core Harpertown processors) with 192 GB of RAM and 65 300GB SAS hard drives with approximately 15TB of storage.

Major Analytical Equipment

  • The Mass Spectrometry Facility at the University of Minnesota houses a continuous flow isotope ratio mass spectrometer interfaced with a flask autosampler, a Trace Gas system (Micromass Ltd., Manchester, UK) and elemental analyzer inlet systems. The facility is managed and maintained by the USDA-ARS and Department of Soil, Water, and Climate. The instrument is optimized for analysis of compounds of mass 28, 29, 44, 45, and 46. Soil and plant samples are processed through the Carlo Erba elemental analyzer for elemental composition (total carbon and nitrogen content) and then transferred to the mass spectrometer for isotopic analysis (d13C and d15N). The Trace Gas inlet system and flask autosampler enable on-line analysis of ambient gas samples using an automated cryogenic focusing technique. The inlet system is used for d13C and d18O in CO2.
  • Tunable diode laser facility (TGA100, Campbell Scientific Inc.). Six lasers are available for continuous measurement of (13CO2, CO2, C18O16O, H218O, H2160, N2O, CH4) and are available for field or lab experiments.
  • An off-axis integrated cavity output spectroscopy (OA-ICOS) system (DLT-100 Los Gatos Research) is available for liquid water isotope ratio (dH, d18O) analysis.
  • Eddy covariance systems (Campbell 3D sonic anemometer-thermometer and Licor open-path IRGA) with Campbell Scientific CR5000 data loggers. Conditional Sampling (Relaxed Eddy Accumulation) systems are available employing RMYOUNG sonic anemometry with IOTech 2000X Daqbooks driven by DasyLab software.
  • Tall Tower Trace Gas Observatory (244 m Radio Tower, Minnesota Public Radio 89.3FM "The Current") has been operational since April 2007. This facility is equipped with eddy covariance and TDL systems for isotopic flux measurement at the regional scale.
  • Licor 6400 photosynthesis/soil respiration system is available for field and lab experiments.
  • Tethersonde Meteorological Tower (TMT-5A) is available for boundary layer profile work(up to 2km in height). A 21 foot balloon allows a small sample package of approximately 16 pounds to be carried for profiling of scalars using a flask sampling approach.
  • Coltri Sub Compressor for filling and mixing trace gas standards.

Other Resources

Electronic and machine shop personnel are available on the Saint Paul Campus for supporting research projects. A wind tunnel is available in Civil Engineering (St. Anthony Falls Lab) for turbulence studies and calibrating sonic anemometers and flow sensors. A glass blowing shop is available for constructing custom glassware.

photo of research equipment in a Biometeorology research facility

photo of research equipment in a Biometeorology research facility

photo of Biometeorology research equipment in a crop field

photo of research equipment in a Biometeorology research facility

photo of Biometeorology research equipment in a crop field

photo of research equipment and two researchers in a Biometeorology research facility

photo of Biometeorology research equipment in a crop field

photo of research equipment in a Biometeorology research facility

photo of research equipment in a Biometeorology research facility