User Facilities

Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility (ARM)

Global Network
Start of Operations
Number of Users
1,121 (FY 2015)

ARM is a multi-platform scientific user facility with instruments at fixed and varying locations around the globe for obtaining continuous field measurements of atmospheric data.


The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility began operations in 1989 and supports a global network of permanent and mobile long-term atmospheric observational facilities as well as the development of scientific data products. ARM is a multi-laboratory effort, and is a major contributor to national and international research efforts related to global climate change.

ARM operates in situ and remote sensing observatories in climatically significant locations to sample continental and marine conditions in diverse environments. There are three fixed sites (U.S. Southern Great Plains, North Slope of Alaska, and the Azores) and three mobile facilities to explore science questions beyond those addressed by ARM's fixed sites.  Peer-reviewed experiments are hosted at the fixed and mobile ARM sites with a goal to improve capabilities of models to make high quality predictions across the globe. ARM also has an aerial measurement capability to complement the ground measurements, and a data archive that provides scientists with quality-assured data in near real time.


ARM provides the climate community with standardized, high-precision observational data to understand the role of clouds and aerosols in controlling the Earth’s energy balance.  ARM’s multiple instrument systems, long-term data records, high frequency measurements, and three-dimensional capabilities provide a unique resource for studying aerosol and cloud processes, as well as their interactions and coupling with the Earth’s surface. ARM data has led to significant enhancements to the radiation, aerosol, and cloud components of major climate models.  Nevertheless, cloud and aerosol feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates. Over the next decade, ARM will focus its measurement capabilities to address this uncertainty by developing denser observational sites that include additional scanning and profiling remote sensors to provide information on spatial variability of aerosol, cloud, and boundary layer processes at the scale of next generation climate models. ARM will also strengthen the connection between observations and models through development of a routine high resolution modeling capability focused on the ARM and creation of integrated data products and instrument simulators for model evaluation.

Last modified: 7/18/2016 10:27:27 AM