Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Affordable relaxed eddy accumulation system to measure fluxes of H2O, CO2, CH4 and N2O from ecosystems

Grelle, Achim; Keck, Hannes


The relaxed eddy accumulation (REA) technique is frequently applied to measure fluxes of a large variety of atmospheric tracers above ecosystems. It is often the method of choice since the eddy covariance (EC) technique is limited to a few tracers due to the lack of fast response analysers, high financial costs and in some cases high power consumption. REA avoids the need for a fast response analyser by collecting air from up-drafts and down-drafts into separate reservoirs. After collecting the air over a predefined time period, trace gas concentrations in the reservoirs are analysed by a slow response analyser and the average fluxes can be calculated.

We developed and tested a REA system that is capable of measuring CO2, CH4, N2O and H2O fluxes simultaneously with only one gas analyser (Picarro G2805). This system is compatible with virtually any gas analyser and thus supports the flux analysis of a wide range of other air constituents such as isotopes, aerosols and volatile organic compounds. Furthermore, the modular design and rugged casing makes the sampling system robust and portable, and with its 12 V DC operation it is suitable for a wide range of field campaigns. The performance of the REA system was tested during the growing seasons of 2018 and 2020 on a grassland on organic soil in central Sweden.

The system has worked reliably during several months in the Nordic climate, covering ambient temperatures between -20°C and +30°C. Measured fluxes of CO2 and H2O agree well with fluxes measured independently by an EC system. The similarity in the technology and the determined detection limits made us confident that the REA system even captures fluxes of CH4 and N2O well.


REA; micrometeorology; conditional sampling; greenhouse gas fluxes; turbulent fluxes; nitrous oxide

Published in

Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
2021, Volume: 307, article number: 108514

      SLU Authors

    • UKÄ Subject classification

      Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)