17 Apr 2023
 | 17 Apr 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Validation and field application of a low-cost device to measure CO2 and ET fluxes

Reena Macagga, Michael Asante, Geoffroy Sossa, Danica Antonijevic, Maren Dubbert, and Mathias Hoffmann

Abstract. Mitigating the global climate crisis and its consequences, such as more frequent and severe droughts, is one of the major challenges for future agriculture. Therefore, identifying land use systems and management practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and promote water use efficiency (WUE) is crucial. This, however, requires accurate and precise measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes and evapotranspiration (ET). Despite that, commercial systems to measure CO2 and ET fluxes are expensive and thus, often exclude research in ecosystems within the Global South. This is especially true for research and data of agroecosystems in these areas, which are to date still widely underrepresented. Here, we present a newly developed, low-cost, non-dispersive infrared (NDIR)-based, CO2 and ET flux measurement device (~200 Euro) that provides reliable, accurate and precise CO2 and ET flux measurements in conjunction with manual closed chambers. To validate the system, laboratory and field validation experiments were performed, testing multiple different low-cost sensors. We demonstrate that the system delivers accurate and precise CO2 and ET flux measurements using the K30 FR NDIR (CO2) and SHT31 (RH) sensor. An additional field trial application demonstrated its longer-term stability (> 3 months) and ability to obtain valid net ecosystem C balances (NECB) and WUE. This was the case, even though environmental conditions at the field trial application site in Sub-Saharan Africa were rather challenging (e.g., extremely high temperatures, humidity and intense rainfall). Consequently, the developed low-cost CO2 and ET flux measurement device not only provides reasonable results but might also help to democratize science and close current data gaps.

Reena Macagga et al.

Status: open (until 02 Nov 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-553', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 May 2023 reply

Reena Macagga et al.

Reena Macagga et al.


Total article views: 539 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
307 215 17 539 14 15
  • HTML: 307
  • PDF: 215
  • XML: 17
  • Total: 539
  • BibTeX: 14
  • EndNote: 15
Views and downloads (calculated since 17 Apr 2023)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 17 Apr 2023)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 546 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 546 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 30 Sep 2023
Short summary
Using only low-cost microcontrollers and sensors, we constructed a measurement device, to accurately and precisely obtain atmospheric carbon dioxide and water fluxes. The device was tested against known concentration increases and high-cost, commercial sensors during a laboratory and field experiment. We additionally tested the device over a longer period in a field study in Ghana during which the net ecosystem carbon balance and water use efficiency of maize cultivation were studied.