Urban Ecosystem Observatory Tower

Cooperators: SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Clarkson University, Cornell University, Syracuse University

At SUNY-ESF, a variety of projects provide environmental monitoring data in relation to research associated with atmospheric deposition, climate change, and water quality. The Syracuse Center of Excellence and the Upper Onondaga Park sites are being developed to compare meteorological conditions and air quality within urban (CoE) and residential settings in the City of Syracuse. The urban site is located at Syracuse Center of Excellence.  Meteorological sensors and air sampling equipment are located on the 150-foot tower. 

Measurements: air temperature, solar energy, relative humidity, barometric pressure,rainfall, windspeed & direction.

Major objectives:

a) the characterization and comparison of air temperature and pollutant fluxes and concentrations in the downtown area (Headquarters of Syracuse Center of Excellence, CoE) and at an urban residential site in the Strathmore neighborhood in the City of Syracuse;

b) the development of models that predict the influence of vegetative (trees, shrubs, lawns, etc.) and impervious land cover (roadways, parking lots, sidewalks and roofs) on the spatial pattern of temperature and air quality;

c) predict spatial patterns of temperature and air pollutants under different atmospheric conditions;

d) explore how changes in temperature affect human comfort;

e) evaluate carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes as affected by landscape features (buildings, roads, parks, etc.) and seasonal variation.

Currently a major effort is being directed on the utilization of eddy covariance analysis in the examination of how CO2 fluxes vary between the residential and urban tower sites in the City of Syracuse.  Carbon dioxide is one of the most important “green house” gases and quantifying sources and sinks of CO2 has important implications for understanding carbon dynamics and heat balances at local, regional and global scales.  Our study is showing that within the City of Syracuse there are major differences in the relative importance of carbon sources and sinks between residential and urban sites.  Evaluating these differences is needed for obtaining carbon and energy budgets of cities and determining how urban centers influence carbon and energy budgets over a broad range of spatial scales.