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736
Rubric: News of Science
Section: Biology
Krasnoyarsk "Eiffel" Tower

Krasnoyarsk "Eiffel" Tower

At the end of September 2006, a scientific station was opened in a remote taiga region that can be reached only by water or in a land-rover. The station was designed for the monitoring of greenhouse gases in the surface layers of the atmosphere of forest ecosystems in the boreal zone, which includes Siberian forests

The station was created by the Sukachev Institute of Forest, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Krasnoyarsk, Russia) and Max-Planck-Institute of Biogeochemistry (Jena, Germany) within the framework of a project of the International Science and Technology Center. The station is located so that it will be able to gather observational data from the large area (150х150 km) ascribed to the Institute of Forest and covered with swamps, coniferous and deciduous forests.

The idea of creating such a station originated as early as in 2000. However, it was difficult to construct it because the location was remote from roads and industrial centers, and it actually took three “snowless” seasons (three years).

The heart of the new station is a metallic tower 302 m high (only 22 m lower than the Eiffel tower) equipped with meteorological devices. Connected to the tower are pipelines that take air samples from various heights for subsequent analysis with the help of a complex measurement system installed in the laboratory bin.

Modern scientific equipment makes it possible to obtain data about the concentrations of basic greenhouse gases and ratios between the isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. Also, it allows one to determine the characteristics of aerosols present in the air. Owing to this, one can estimate the circulation of carbon, determine the mechanism of atmospheric transport of air masses, and reveal anthropogenic and biogenic sources of greenhouse gases.

Taking measurements from high towers is a new approach to investigations of interrelations between the climate, atmosphere, and ecosystems. Measuring concentrations of greenhouse gases at a height of 200—300 m above the Earth’s surface enables us to study the relatively homogeneous part of the atmosphere over a large area and avoid the “noise” caused by diurnal variations in the photosynthesis of plants. The forest ecosystems of Siberia as natural absorbers of atmospheric carbon have been studied poorly, which is why parameters of the surface atmospheric layer as well as data about ecosystems should be recorded continuously so that a carbon balance model on the scale of a continent can be calculated.

For the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the high tower is not only a unique scientific object but also a test site for interdisciplinary investigations. It is planned to conduct joint works with some other institutes of the Branch and within the framework of the Russian-German laboratory named ZOTTO (Zotino Tall Tower facilities). And this is quite natural: science, in the same way as the air ocean, has no national boundaries…

Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences E. A. Vaganov, Candidate of Agriculture S. V. Verkhovets; Sukachev Institute of Forest, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Krasnoyarsk

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