The self-heating correction is known to modify open-path eddy covariance estimates of net ecosystem CO(2) exchange, typically towards reduced uptake or enhanced emissions, but with a magnitude heretofore not generally documented. We assess the magnitude of this correction to be of order 1 mu mol m(-2) s(-1) (daytime) for half-hourly fluxes and consistently over 100g Cm(-2) for annual integrations, across a tower network (CARBORED-ES) spanning climate zones from Mediterranean temperate to cool alpine. We furthermore examine the sensitivity of the correction to its determining factors. Due to significant diurnal variation, the means of discriminating day versus night can lead to differences of up to several tens of g C m(-2) year(-1). Since its principal determinants - temperature and wind speed - do not include gas flux data, the annual correction can be estimated using only meteorological data so as to avoid uncertainties introduced when filling gaps in flux data. For fast retro-correction of annual integrations published prior to the recognition of this instrument surface heating effect, the annual impact can be roughly approximated to within 12 g C m-2 year-1 by a linear function of mean annual temperature. These determinations highlight the need for the flux community to reach a consensus regarding the need for and the specific form of this correction. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.