Thompson Farm Earth Systems Observatory

Thompson Farm is a 118-hectare property in Durham, NH, located 3 km southwest of the University of New Hampshire’s Durham campus.  The property was donated to UNH in 1972 by Ina Thompson, and serves multiple uses including recreation, timber and biofuel production, hay production, education, and scientific research.  

Thompson Farm is part of a contiguous network of conserved land owned by UNH, NH Fish and Game, the Town of Durham, and private individuals, and is adjacent to the Federally-designated Wild and Scenic Lamprey River.

The UNH community has increasingly focused on Thompson Farm as an ideal local site for a wide range of scientific research activities.  In 2001 the NOAA-funded AIRMAP program invested in infrastructure for atmospheric research, which was followed by over a decade of detailed atmospheric chemistry data collection.  Since then, a wide variety of ecological, biogeochemical, atmospheric, hydrological, engineering, remote sensing, and forest management research projects have been conducted by UNH and collaborating scientists.

Infrastructure on site includes:

  • A field laboratory and 30-meter walk-up research tower
  • A 35-meter flux tower which has operated since 2014
  • A meteorological station operated by NOAA’s Climate Reference Network
  • Electrical power, internet access, and data telemetry capabilities in parts of the property

Research proposals:

  • All proposals to conduct research or educational activities on the property require permission from Steve Eisenhaure, UNH Land Use Coordinator.
  • All planned uses of the research building and tower should be discussed with facility managers Matt Vadeboncoeur and Andy Ouimette.

Students, technicians, and PIs with planned or ongoing projects at Thompson Farm should join the ThompsonFarmResearchers Listserv, which facilitates logistical and safety communications as well as data sharing and collaboration.  Email to join, or sign up here from an on-campus or UNH VPN connection.

Learn more (external links):


Research coordination activities at Thompson Farm Earth Systems Observatory are supported by the Iola Hubbard Climate Change Endowment, which is managed by the Earth Systems Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.