ARM Organization

The ARM Climate Research Facility operates field research sites around the world for global change research. Three primary locations—Southern Great Plains, Tropical Western Pacific, North Slope of Alaska—plus aircraft and the portable ARM Mobile Facilities—are heavily instrumented to collect massive amounts of atmospheric measurements needed to create data files. Scientists use these data to study the effects and interactions of sunlight, clouds, and radiant energy, as well as interdisciplinary research involving hydrology, ecology, and weather forecasting. As part of this effort, ARM scientists and infrastructure staff provide value-added processing to the data files to create new data streams called value-added products. Software tools are then provided to help open and analyze these products. Program documentation, from setting up the sites to developing the value added products, is available for each step in this process. The following groups help manage the Facility.

Value Added Products Value-added Processing Data Measurements Instruments Sites Documentation Tools

Infrastructure Management Board

The Infrastructure Management Board (IMB) consists of the Technical Director, Chief Operating Officer, Facility Operations Managers, Archive Manager, and Aerial Facility Manager. The members of the IMB are responsible to DOE management for their respective ARM facility components and serve as the primary points of contact for their respective areas. The IMB meets with the DOE Program Managers (usually via teleconference) on a weekly basis to discuss a broad range of matters pertaining to the management of the ARM Facility. The IMB is responsible for the overall ARM budget that is proposed to the DOE Program Managers for review and approval. The IMB assesses the impacts of all requests for use of the ARM Facility and screens science requests for use of the ARM Facility prior to consideration by the Science Board. It also provides information regarding the feasibility, cost, and facility impact associated with each request. The IMB works with DOE management on strategic planning using input from the user community as guidance for how to best configure the facility to serve research needs.

Technical Coordination Office

The ARM Climate Research Facility (ARM) Technical Coordination Office coordinates the day-to-day technical activities, planning, budgeting, contracting, and interactions with the science community. The Technical Coordination Office coordinates field campaign proposals for the ARM Facility to be reviewed by the Science Board and works with the Chief Operating Officer on their implementation. This office oversees the implementation of user requirements with the Chief Operating Officer for the operation and enhancement of the Facility. Responses to review committees are coordinated through this office, as well as working with the DOE Program Manager to coordinate, plan, and implement communications with the science community, and ensuring DOE User Facility policies and reporting requirements are followed.

The ARM Technical Director is the chair of the IMB and primary point of contact for ARM.


ARM Operations has the responsibility to implement and operate instruments continuously, collect and process the data, and provide the data to the data archive in a timely manner. ARM Operations is managed by the Chief Operating Officer. Instruments at the fixed, aerial, and mobile ARM sites provide researchers and numerical modelers with a continuous, long-term, quality data set that addresses a wide range of interdisciplinary sciences focused on assessing global climate change. The data collected from the fixed and mobile sites are processed and maintained at a user-friendly data archive. Operations works with Facility Operations Mangers to enable international, regional, and local government relationships are developed to operate the fixed, mobile, and aerial sites and field operations are conducted in accordance with DOE and laboratory safety and security policies.

Instrument Mentors

The ARM Climate Research Facility currently operates more than 300 instrument systems that provide ground-based observations of the atmospheric column. The same geophysical parameters (temperature, humidity, pressure, cloud cover, solar radiation, etc.) needed for weather forecasting are also needed for climate research. To keep ARM at the forefront of climate observations, the ARM infrastructure depends heavily on instrument scientists and engineers, also known as mentors. Instrument mentors have an excellent understanding of in situ and remote-sensing instrumentation theory and operation and have comprehensive knowledge of critical scale-dependent atmospheric processes. They also possess the technical and analytical skills to develop new data retrievals that provide innovative approaches for creating research-quality data sets. These data sets either provide or can be used to simulate the geophysical parameters that push science discovery and the improvement of climate models.


Translators serve as liaisons between the ARM infrastructure and the user community. Their primary role is to manage the development of VAPs. These products are derived from the direct output from ARM instruments and they may provide new physical parameters, added quality checks, or integration of parameters from multiple sources. Translators work with leaders from the Atmospheric System Research (ASR) working groups to identify priorities for new data products and serve as a conduit of information from the ARM infrastructure back to ASR leaders. Translators may also bring suggestions for new data product ideas from the broader user community to the translator group for consideration for product development.

Visit our VAPs Status page for the full list of translators.


The ARM Climate Research Facility has implemented a safety management system that applies to work practices at all levels. It requires that feedback information on the adequacy of controls is gathered, opportunities for improving the definition and planning of work are identified and implemented, and line and independent oversight is conducted. ARM uses a process that evaluates and improves the program by which work is identified, planned, approved, controlled, and executed. Clear and unambiguous lines of authority and responsibility for ensuring safety are developed before work is performed, the associated hazards are evaluated, and an agreed upon set of safety standards and requirements are established. Readiness is confirmed and work is performed safely. Feedback information on the adequacy of controls is gathered, opportunities for improving the definition and planning of work are identified and implemented, and line and independent oversight is conducted. See our Safety Policy for more information.

Data Quality

The Data Quality (DQ) Office was established in July 2000 to help coordinate the continued evolution and implementation of efforts to ensure the quality of the data collected by ARM field instrumentation. The DQ Office has the responsibility for ensuring that quality assurance results are communicated to (1) data users so that they may make informed decisions when using the data, and (2) ARM's Site Operations and Engineers to facilitate improved instrument performance and thereby minimize the amount of unacceptable data collected.

Data Systems

Site Data Systems

The Site Data Systems are used to collect instrument data and transmit the data to the Data Processing Center, where data are processed and quality assured. These data systems include computers and data loggers in direct communications with the instruments and "centralized" systems that aggregate all of the data for a site. These centralized systems also provide on-site and immediate access to scientists conducting research at the field sites.

Data Reprocessing Center

When correctable problems are found in data, reprocessing requests are logged and prioritized for reprocessing at the Data Reprocessing Center. Reprocessing provides for the correction or improvement of existing ARM data. Tasks for reprocessing are largely identified from the problem identification form (PIF) process. Reprocessing provides improved and easier to use data products for the ARM user community. The Reprocessing Center is located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory adjacent to the Data Archive.

Data Archive

The ARM Climate Research Facility Data Archive provides long-term storage and access for all data generated by ARM or collected by ARM from related program (e.g., external data such as NASA satellite data). The Archive Center is located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Data Management Facility

The Data Management Facility (DMF) of ARM performs all of the initial data reception and data processing for ARM data streams. This includes the aggregation of RAW data into daily files and the processing of raw data into NetCDF files for ARM datastreams and VAPS (additional derived datastreams). The DMF also provides computational resources for VAP development and review. Near-term reprocessing (within a few weeks of the original processing) is also conducted at the DMF (with documentation provided to the reprocessing center). The DMF is located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

External Data Center

The External Data Center collects and processes data from other climate monitoring and research programs. The data are formatted similar to ARM datastreams (in NetCDF) as a convenience to the ARM user community. The external data are stored and distributed by the Archive along with the ARM datastreams. ARM provides these data from external sources because they are usually not easily accessible from their original source (e.g., not retained in an automated "online system", not readily indexed for long-term access, are embedded in otherwise very voluminous data structures—satellite data, climate model output). The External Data Center is located at Brookhaven National Laboratory.


The Engineering team is responsible for development of systems, instruments, software, and hardware for ARM. This includes the processes and tools used to govern and guide the engineering development activities. The Engineering group tasks and direction is overseen by the Technical Coordinator and administered by the Engineering Administrators. See Engineering Support for more information.