Atmospheric Radiation Measurement
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The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility is a United States Department of Energy scientific user facility for the study of global climate change by the national and international research community.
The ARM Climate Research Facility consists of global observation sites and research aircraft that measure radiative properties of the atmosphere, particularly cloud and aerosol formation processes. Continuous data from these sites, as well as supplemental data obtained through intensive field campaigns, are freely available online through the Data Archive. Nine DOE national laboratories work together in support of this scientific user facility.
Who We Are
The ARM Facility was created in 1989 by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop several highly instrumented ground stations to study cloud formation processes and their influence on radiative transfer. The program evolved to include additional measurements of aerosol and precipitation, the original ground sites were supplemented with three mobile facilities and an aerial facility.
What We Do
Research at the ARM Climate Research Facility includes the study of alterations in climate, land productivity, oceans or other water resources, atmospheric chemistry, and ecological systems that may alter the capacity of the Earth to sustain life. Global change research also includes the study, monitoring, assessment, prediction, and information management activities to describe and understand:
- The interactive physical, chemical, and biological processes that regulate the total Earth system
- The unique environment that the Earth provides for life
- The changes that are occurring in the Earth system and the environment and how these changes are influenced by human actions.
- ARM Aerial Facility - ARM's site in the sky
- Eastern North Atlantic - Began in late 2013 on Graciosa Island in the Azores
- Mobile Facilities - Providing portability, flexibility, and accessibility
- North Slope of Alaska - Providing high-latitude data
- Southern Great Plains - The first ARM site in north-central Oklahoma
- Tropical Western Pacific - Improving circulation models for climate research
During the past three decades, the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) in the DOE Office of Science sponsored programs focused on specific aspects of climate models to improve the understanding of processes represented in these models. Working in conjunction with ARM, the Atmospheric System Research (ASR) group was originally created as the Atmospheric Science Program (ASP). ASP was created to coordinate and to take a complementary approach to quantifying the effects of clouds and aerosols on the atmosphere’s radiation balance. While the ARM program focused on clouds and radiative feedback measurements, ASP research made extensive use of controlled laboratory experiments to study key atmospheric processes, involving chemical reactions or composition-dependent aerosol properties. In the past several years, the two programs have coordinated several joint, field campaigns, combining the distinct measurement scales, methodologies, and expertise available within the two programs to yield complementary data on the same processes, leading to new insights and understanding. The 2010 merger of the ARM Program and ASP into the new ASR program brings together ARM expertise in continuous remote sensing measurements of cloud properties and aerosol influences on radiation with the ASP expertise for in situ characterization of aerosol properties, evolution, and cloud interactions.
A proponent of STEM education, the goal of ARM’s Educational Outreach is to promote basic science awareness and increase critical thinking skills focusing on environmental science and climate change for K-12 students. To this end, ARM collaborates with educators and scientists to develop resources (lesson plans, handouts, and activities) that complement ARM research for use in classrooms and communities around the world.
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