Causal interaction in high frequency turbulence at the biosphere-atmosphere interface: Structure-function coupling

Leila Constanza Hernandez Rodriguez, Praveen Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At the biosphere-atmosphere interface, nonlinear interdependencies among components of an ecohydrological complex system can be inferred using multivariate high frequency time series observations. Information flow among these interacting variables allows us to represent the causal dependencies in the form of a directed acyclic graph (DAG). We use high frequency multivariate data at 10 Hz from an eddy covariance instrument located at 25 m above agricultural land in the Midwestern US to quantify the evolutionary dynamics of this complex system using a sequence of DAGs by examining the structural dependency of information flow and the associated functional response. We investigate whether functional differences correspond to structural differences or if there are no functional variations despite the structural differences. We base our analysis on the hypothesis that causal dependencies are instigated through information flow, and the resulting interactions sustain the dynamics and its functionality. To test our hypothesis, we build upon causal structure analysis in the companion paper to characterize the information flow in similarly clustered DAGs from 3-min non-overlapping contiguous windows in the observational data. We characterize functionality as the nature of interactions as discerned through redundant, unique, and synergistic components of information flow. Through this analysis, we find that in turbulence at the biosphere-atmosphere interface, the variables that control the dynamic character of the atmosphere as well as the thermodynamics are driven by non-local conditions, while the scalar transport associated with CO 2 and H 2 O is mainly driven by short-term local conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number073144
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Mathematical Physics


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