The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility is a multi-platform scientific user facility that supports research for addressing the major uncertainties of climate models – clouds and aerosols. ARM provides the national and international research community unparalleled infrastructure for obtaining precise observations of key atmospheric phenomena needed for the advancement of atmospheric process understanding and climate models. Within DOE, ARM’s major clients are the Atmospheric System Research (ASR),Regional and Global Climate Modeling and Earth System Modeling programs. ARM and EMSL collaborate on field experiments such as GOAmazon. The primary ARM objective is improved scientific understanding of the fundamental physics related to interactions between clouds, aerosols, and radiative feedback processes in the atmosphere; in addition, ARM has enormous potential to advance scientific knowledge in a wide range of interdisciplinary Earth sciences.
ARM was the first climate change field research facility to operate cutting-edge instrumentation on a long-term continuous basis and operates at fixed and varying locations around the globe. The ARM Climate Research Facility field research sites are designed to obtain data for studying the effects of aerosols, precipitation, surface flux, and clouds on global climate change. The fixed sites are located in three diverse climate regimes representing mid-latitude, polar, and tropical environs (i.e., the Southern Great Plains and the North Slope of Alaska in the United States, and the Tropical Western Pacific). A new fixed site at Graciosa Island in the Azores and an extended-duration mobile facility deployment at Oliktok Point, AK, will become operational in 2013. With an aerial measurement capability (AAF), and mobile ground facilities (AMF), ARM provides the world’s most comprehensive 24/7 observational capabilities for obtaining atmospheric data specifically for addressing the major scientific uncertainties in climate change.
Each ARM site uses a leading edge array of cloud-, aerosol-, and precipitation-observing instruments to record long-term continuous measurements of atmospheric and surface properties. ARM also provides shorter-term (months rather than years) measurements with its two mobile facilities (AMFs) and its AAF. The recently added complement of scanning radars to all ARM fixed and mobile sites provides a unique capability for high resolution delineation of cloud dynamical evolution, morphology, and radiative properties, in support of both the atmospheric sciences and climate modeling. To exploit ARM capabilities more efficiently for the climate modeling community, surface observations of e.g. geomorphology, turbulent momentum and heat flux, aerosol flux, carbon flux, methane, soil moisture, and/or sea surface temperature are often co-located with ARM instrumentation. The combination of high temporal resolution at discrete locations makes ARM observations uniquely suited for studying local cloud processes, many aspects of which remain among the most poorly represented processes in climate models.
The resultant data are available through the data archive. These data are used as a resource for over 100 journal articles per year, which represent tangible evidence of ARM's contribution to advances in almost all areas of atmospheric radiation and cloud research.
Additional programmatic information is available via the ARM homepage.
DOE Mission Relevance
The DOE Strategic Plan notes that “An increasingly complex, global environment has brought into sharp focus the relationships between energy security, climate change, and national security objectives—all against a backdrop of concerns about U.S. economic competitiveness. The Department’s engine of innovation must now be directed at that nexus, accelerating progress toward solutions with renewed purpose and vigor.” There is compelling evidence that carbon-dioxide emissions from human activities are adversely affecting the climate. However, the large spread in projected future surface temperatures from current global climate models for any given assumed future anthropogenic emission scenario greatly limits the utility of these models in the development of the Nation’s and the World’s energy policies. The ARM capabilities are designed to provide the observations and research support needed to address the two largest sources of uncertainty in climate models, representations of cloud and aerosol processes.
ARM facilities are valuable resources for other agency programs for conducting joint experiments and for testing or validating instruments and retrieval algorithms. For instance, the combination of ARM surface and NASA satellite data results in a compelling data set from the coupling of two highly complementary climate data resources.
ARM has several international collaborations that enhance its ability to provide needed data from key climatic regions. Each of the fixed sites (Darwin, Australia; Manus, Papua New Guinea; the Republic of Nauru, and Graciosa, the Azores) are enabled by cooperation between ARM and its hosts. Similar arrangements support ARM Mobile Facility and aerial campaigns in other countries. A recent effort has been initiated to expand collaboration between ARM and several European centers (829KB).
Solicitations A call for proposals is issued each year and is announced in several publications and newsletters. ARM is currently accepting field campaign proposals for FY2013 deployments that use an AMF, AAF, or augment observations at one of the fixed sites. To learn more, read Submitting Proposals Guidelines Requests for small campaigns, such as hosting guest instruments are accepted throughout the year. The process for these proposals is described on the Submitting Proposals Guidelines page. Proposed projects for ARM are reviewed by the ARM Science Board a highly respected group of scientists.
Data Sharing Policy
All data are provided in accordance with the BER data sharing policy. Data are made available in near real time from the ARM Archive