Grassland Flux Tower / Rural Reference Site



by Andreas Christen(1) and Tim Oke(1)
and in collaboration with Sue Grimmond(2), and James Voogt(3).

(1) University of British Columbia, Department of Geography, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
(2) University of Reading, Department of Meteorology, Reading, UK.
(3) University of Western Ontario, Department of Geography, London, ON, Canada.

EPiCC Environmental Prediction in Canadian CitiesIn the CFCAS network 'EPiCC - Environmental Prediction in Canadian Cities', this climate and flux-tower served as a rural reference site. It was used in combination with the urban flux towers Vancouver-Sunset and Vancouver Oakridge to quantify urban climate modifications year-round. The instrumentation at this site was continuously operated between July 2007 and October 2009.

Interactive panorama at the site in Fall 2008, also available in high-resolution for download with labels. Click on image and drag mouse to pan, use ↑ and ↓ keys to zoom in and out.

The rural site ‘Westham Island’ is located on flat, unmanaged and non-irrigated grassland, 16 km to the south of the urban site in a remote area that is dominated by intensive farming (49.086°N. 123.177°W, WGS-84, 2 m a.s.l.). The site is characterized as Local Climate Zone 11 'low plant cover'. Instruments used in this study to measure radiative and turbulent fluxes were sited on a tripod system (CM-115, Campbell Scientific Inc., Logan, UT, USA), 1.5 and 1.8 m above the local ground surface. The site was colonized by a diverse set of tall grasses that ranged in average stand height between 0.5 m (winter) and a maximum of 175 m (August 2009). Heights of most instruments were adjusted in summer to account for the growing grass height.

Selected publications on Westham Island:

Technical reports

Web Link  EPiCC Technical Report #1 - Processing and quality control procedures of turbulent flux measurements during the Vancouver EPiCC experiment.
Web Link  EPiCC Technical Report #2 - Soil properties at the Vancouver EPiCC experimental sites.
Web Link  EPiCC Technical Report #3 - Vegetation characteristics at the Vancouver EPiCC experimental sites.





View of the Eddy-Covariance System on top of the tower. We measure continuously exchange of heat, water and carbon-dioxide above the urban surface.

Site Characteristics

Longitude / Latitude 123.1768ºW
Height of flux system 1.8 / 2.2 m a.g.l.

Data Products

Wind roses from Westham Island (2007-09)

Historical data graphs for Westham Island during the EPiCC experiment (2007-2009).

Browse through available database entries.

Data Tables

Air Temperature (2m) 2007 2008 2009
Soil Temperature (-5cm) 2007 2008 2009
Soil Water Content 2007 2008 2009
Evapotranspiration 2007 2008 2009
Solar Irradiance 2007 2008 2009
Wind Velocity (4m) 2007 2008 2009

Model Products

Long-term source areas for the Westham Island site.


This research site has been funded by:



The Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences funded the operation from 2007-2009 as part of the Network Grant 'Environmental Prediction in Canadian Cities' (Oke and Voogt). Selected research infrastructure was supported by NSERC RTI (Christen, #344541-0).

We thank Reynelda Farms (Hugh Reynolds) for their support and permission to operate this research infrastructure on their property.

The following individuals contributed significantly to operation and data-collection: Jonathan Bau (UBC), Ben Crawford (UBC), Rick Ketler (UBC), Adrian Leitch (UBC), Kate Liss (UBC), Zoran Nesic (UBC), and Chad Siemens (UBC).