This year the FLUXNET Community Council held inaugural FLUXNET Annual Awards. These awards recognized outstanding contributions in two categories: the FLUXNET Service Award and the FLUXNET Paper of the Year. The FLUXNET Service Award focused on early-career contributors, though in future years we plan to recognize mid to later career contributors to the FLUXNET community. Award recipients were announced during the FLUXNET Townhall at the December 2023 meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held in San Francisco, CA, USA.
FLUXNET Service Award: Celebrating Dedication and Impact
The FLUXNET Service Award recognizes individuals who have shown extraordinary commitment to the FLUXNET community. This year, we are thrilled to honor Gabriela Shirkey (https://inthisclimate.com/about/) as the main award recipient, with three remarkable runner-ups. Gabriela has been an instrumental figure in the FLUXNET Early Career Network and the FLUXNET Community Council. She was chosen in part for her “phenomenal” organizational, collaboration, and communication skills. Gabriela has been the driving force behind the revitalization of the FLUXNET Early Career Network and the seminars, workshops, and networking events established to benefit early career scientists. Gabriela’s leadership was particularly valuable during the AmeriFlux Annual Meeting in 2020, the first-ever virtual meeting due to COVID-19. Her innovative ideas, including an early career virtual mixer and a lightning session, were key to the meeting’s success. Her involvement in the FLUXNET Coordination Council has been pivotal, especially in promoting activities for diverse early career scientists. Gabriela is a rising star, and we look forward to watching her career develop.
The Service Award runner-ups are Ana Maria Restrepo Acevedo, Natalia Kowalska, and Jacob Nelson. Ana Maria Restrepo Acevedo has spearheaded the recent FLUXNET initiative to translate FLUXCOURSE educational materials into Spanish, significantly enhancing the accessibility of these resources for the Spanish-speaking scientific community. Her dedication, especially during the final stages of her Ph.D., exemplifies selfless service and has greatly contributed to expanding knowledge in flux research globally. Natalia Kowalska and Jacob Nelson were both chosen for their pivotal roles in planning and executing the FLUXNET Annual Meeting held in 2023 in Brno, Czech Republic. The workshop brought together 91 attendees from 24 countries, and was widely seen as a resounding success. We greatly appreciate the significant time and energy Natalia and Jacob devoted to the meeting.
FLUXNET Paper of the Year Award
This year, the award goes to a groundbreaking study authored by Weijie Zhang: The effect of relative humidity on eddy covariance latent heat flux measurements and its implication for partitioning into transpiration and evaporation https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2022.109305. Weijie Zhang’s research addresses a crucial and longstanding issue in the eddy covariance flux data community: the energy balance closure. Lack of energy balance closure can be caused by an underestimation of evapotranspiration, particularly under high relative humidity conditions. Zhang’s research comprehensively evaluates this RH-associated underestimation of latent heat fluxes across all 163 sites in the FLUXNET2015 dataset. Zhang introduces a novel machine-learning approach to correct these underestimations, offering a significant improvement over existing methods. This advancement is pivotal for accurate ET quantification across diverse ecological sites, especially in high humidity scenarios.
We congratulate all the winners and thank everyone who participated. These awards not only recognize individual excellence but also reflect the collaborative spirit that drives FLUXNET forward. We look forward to continuing this tradition in the coming years.