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Climate Change Research 24/7

by Kathy Chambers on Mon, April 11, 2016

Image credit: ARM ProgramImage credit: ARM Program

One of the research programs managed by the Department of Energy (DOE) is the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program, created in 1989 to address scientific uncertainties related to global climate change.  ARM's Climate Research Facility, a DOE scientific user facility, provides the world's most comprehensive 24/7 observational capabilities to obtain atmospheric data specifically for climate change research. The ARM facility includes fixed, mobile, and aerial sites that gather continuous measurements used to study the effects and interactions of sunlight, radiant energy, clouds, and aerosols and their impacts on the global climate system.  The ARM program serves as a model and a knowledge base for climate change research endeavors across the globe.

ARM's facility sites are operated through a collaboration of nine DOE national laboratories, numerous government agencies, universities, and private domestic and international organizations.  ARM's primary fixed-site locations are selected for their broad range of climate conditions and importance for studying climate processes.  These highly instrumented sites include the Eastern North Atlantic, located on Graciosa Island in the Azores, ARM's newest fixed site.  This region is characterized by marine stratocumulus clouds that are being studied in global climate models.  The North Slope of Alaska fixed site provides data about cloud and radiative processes at high latitudes.  These data are receiving increasing attention as the interactions of the atmosphere-ocean climate system become better understood.  ARM's Southern Great Plains fixed site, known as the "laboratory without walls," consists of in situ and remote-sensing instrument clusters arrayed across 55,000 square miles in Oklahoma and Kansas. 

ARM's portable and flexible mobile sites are designed to obtain atmospheric measurements in any climate, anywhere in the world, for up to one year.  ARM's aerial sites, including manned and unmanned aircraft, provide unique airborne observations and measurements used to answer science questions that are not possible using land or satellite-based techniques.  Both the mobile and aerial sites provide ARM scientists and the external research community with data not possible with fixed research facilities. 

Specific ARM research project reports are discussed in William Watson's latest white paper, "In the OSTI Collections: Clouds, Sunlight, and Radiant Heat."  DOE research reports, journal articles, multi-media, and data sets resulting from the ARM Climate Research Facility can be found in DOE databases at   

Other Related Topics: climate change, global
Page last updated on 2017-03-14 07:10

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Kathy Chambers
Technical Writer, Information International Associates, Inc.