Effects of the Gill-Solent WindMaster-Pro “w-boost” firmware bug on eddy covariance fluxes and some simple recovery strategies

D. P. Billesbach, S. W. Chan, D. R. Cook, D. Papale, R. Bracho-Garrillo, J. Verfallie, R. Vargas, S. C. Biraud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In late 2015 and early 2016, work done by the AmeriFlux Management Project Technical Team (amerilfux.lbl.gov) helped to uncover an issue with Gill WindMaster and WindMaster Pro sonic anemometers used by many researchers for eddy covariance flux measurements. Gill has addressed this issue and has since sent out a notice that the vertical wind speed component (a critical piece of all eddy covariance fluxes) was being erroneously computed and reported. The problem (known as the “w-boost” bug) resulted in positive (upward) wind speeds being under-reported by 16.6% and negative (downward) wind speeds being under-reported by 28.9%. This has the potential to cause similar under estimates in fluxes derived from measurements using these instruments. Additionally, the bug affects corrections for angle of attack as derived by Nakai and Shimoyama, rendering them invalid. While the manufacturer has offered a firmware upgrade for existing instruments that will fix this issue, many existing data sets have been affected by it and are currently in use by the scientific community. To address the issue of affected data, currently in use, we analyzed multi-year and short-term data sets from a variety of ecosystems to assess methods of correcting existing flux data. We found that simple multiplicative correction factors (∼1.18) may be used to remove most of the “w-boost” bias from fluxes in existing data sets that do not include angle of attack corrections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019


  • Eddy covariance
  • Flux
  • Sonic anemometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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