ARM and the Recovery Act

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science received $1.2 billion, with $60 million allocated to the ARM Climate Research Facility. With these funds, ARM purchased and deployed new and upgraded instrumentation, equipment, and infrastructure to improve the atmospheric data sets used in regional and global climate models. These enhancements took place among the fixed ARM research sites in Oklahoma and Alaska in the United States and near the equator in the tropical Western Pacific. They also advanced the capabilities of ARM’s mobile and aerial research platforms.

Below is a historical list of updates as these improvements were implemented throughout the user facility. Images are archived on our flickr page in the Recovery Act collection.

Progress and News

September 2011

Final Recovery Act Milestone Complete! This month, ARM celebrates the delivery of the last few instruments for its Recovery Act investment and reports its final FY11 milestone - "Infrastructure Enhancements Complete." This closes out the routine reporting schedule for the hundreds of tasks required to see this initiative through to completion. A few noteworthy stats and a note of thanks from Jimmy Voyles, Recovery Act project manager, can be found in this Facility News article.

July 2011

Tropical Western Pacific: A new dual frequency X/Ka-band scanning ARM cloud radar (X/Ka-SACR) was installed in Darwin, Australia, in July, after shipping out from the vendor, ProSensing of Amherst, Mass., in June. This is the first X/Ka-SACR pair to be deployed by the ARM Facility; another pair is scheduled for installation at the Manus Island site in August, and another will be deployed with the second ARM Mobile Facility on Gan Island for the upcoming ARM Madden Julian Oscillation Investigation Experiment, or AMIE, field campaign.

Other: Three new 3-channel (23.834, 30, and 89 gigahertz) microwave radiometers with rain mitigation subsystems joined the ARM instrument collection after passing an operational acceptance test at the ARM Southern Great Plains site. These multi-frequency systems, built by Radiometrics Corp., in Boulder, Colo., will provide more accurate information about water vapor and liquid water path above all ARM sites. In all, six of the new radiometer systems are being built for ARM through the Recovery Act: one each for the Darwin and Manus sites in the Tropical Western Pacific locale; one each for the two ARM Mobile Facilities; and two spares for use throughout the user facility.

June 2011

North Slope of Alaska: Engineers completed acceptance testing of the new X-band scanning ARM precipitation radar (SAPR) at its home on top of the Barrow Arctic Research Center in Alaska. This is the fourth and last X-band SAPR, deployed by ARM through the Recovery Act; the other three are located at the ARM Southern Great Plains site in Okla., and all were built by Radtec, Inc., of Broomfield, Colo. Also, a new dual-frequency W/Ka-band scanning ARM cloud radar (SACR) was accepted at the vendor’s facility and is in transit for final installation at the Great White instrument shelter in Barrow.

Tropical Western Pacific: A newly upgraded Micropulse Lidar (MPL) is on its way to the ARM site Darwin, Australia. The existing MPL there will be shipped back for upgrades at Argonne National Laboratory and then made available as a spare. More about the MPL upgrades can be found in this Facility News article. Also in June, new dual-frequency X/Ka-band SACRs were accepted for installation at the ARM sites in Darwin and Manus Island.

ARM Mobile Facility 1: A new dual-frequency (W/Ka-band) SACR was received and accepted for deployment with the AMF1. Acceptance of this final SACR represents the completion of ARM’s third quarter major Recovery Act milestone with the delivery to ARM of all six scanning ARM cloud radars. ARM now has received dual frequency SACRs for installation at all its fixed and mobile sites: W/Ka-bands at the SGP, NSA, and AMF1; and X/Ka-bands at Darwin, Manus, and the AMF2. All these radars were built by ProSensing, Inc., of Amherst, Mass.

Other: In Brookhaven bits & bytes, scientist Stephen Springston describes progress on the various new aerosol observing systems under development for ARM through the Recovery Act. One of these new systems, a tandem aerosol-chemistry unit, is bound for India, where it will join the ARM Mobile Facility obtaining measurements for the Ganges Valley Aerosol Experiment.

May 2011

North Slope of Alaska: A new K-band ARM zenith radar (KAZR) is now operating at the ARM Site in Barrow, representing the final replacement of the original millimeter wave cloud radars throughout the user facility. For more information on the transition to KAZRs, read this Facility News article. Meanwhile, installation is underway for two new scanning radars: an X-band scanning ARM precipitation radar at the Barrow Arctic Research Center, and a scanning ARM cloud radar near the Great White instrument shelter. Also in May, the first weather balloon was released from the new AutoSonde Launcher, located a stone’s throw from the Great White. Following the completion of operator training, the system will be used routinely for automated twice-daily balloon launches.

Tropical Western Pacific: Instrument integration and testing of a new aerosol observing system for the ARM site in Darwin was completed at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The system is scheduled for shipment to Darwin in June.

April 2011

Tropical Western Pacific: A new C-band scanning ARM precipitation radar, built by Advanced Radar Corporation in Boulder, Colo., is now a highly visible addition to the ARM site on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. As described in this Facility News article, it will be the first operational precipitation radar in this part of the tropical Western Pacific following operations testing and acceptance this summer. It is the second radar of its kind installed by the ARM Facility through the Recovery Act; the first was installed in February 2011 at the ARM Southern Great Plains site in Oklahoma.
March 2011

North Slope of Alaska: In a key Recovery Act milestone for the user facility, a new high spectral resolution lidar (HSRL) was installed on a new deck near the Great White instrument shelter at the Barrow site. The HSRL instrument can measure aerosol optical properties more directly than any other lidar system through its ability to separate aerosol versus molecular contributions in the laser return signal. In addition, the new autosonde launcher was placed on its new platform; training on the system will take place in the spring. Operations staff also directed the installation of new microwave links that will replace land lines used for the site communication systems.

Southern Great Plains: Upgrades to the SGP site’s Raman Lidar were completed, including installing a new laser system, a new beam-expanding telescope for the transmitted beam, and updating the computer operating system and the lidar control software. The upgraded lidar is now functionally equivalent to the new one deployed at the ARM site in Darwin, Australia in December 2010; read this Facility News article for more information. In addition, final infrastructure upgrades throughout the site - including expansions to the shipping and receiving area and the radar calibration facility - are now complete.

Tropical Western Pacific: At ARM’s Manus and Darwin sites, the millimeter wave cloud radar was replaced by the new K-band ARM zenith radar, or KAZR. Read this Facility News article which describes the new KAZR.

ARM Aerial Facility: Two more new instruments – the fast forward scattering probe (F-FSP) and fast cloud droplet probe (F-CDP) were added to the AAF inventory this month. Both of these instruments are enhanced versions of previous generation probes that measure cloud particle sizes ranging from 2 to 50 microns. They were immediately put to use on a Learjet aircraft conducting research flights over the SGP site to obtain supplemental measurements for the Small Particles in Cirrus field campaign, which took place about a year ago.

Other: Facility-wide activities completed in March include data communication systems upgrades, and instrument collection and ingests for the standard ARM instruments upgraded through the Recovery Act.

February 2011

Southern Great Plains: Neither snow, nor wind, nor record freezing temperatures could stop the installation of the last two scanning radars at the SGP site in February. At the Central Facility, a new W/Ka-band scanning ARM cloud radar (SACR) built by ProSensing from Amherst, Md., was installed. This dual frequency radar operates at 95- and 35-gigahertz frequencies. In addition, a new C-band scanning ARM precipitation radar (C-SAPR) was installed near the northern edge of the site boundary. Built by Advanced Radar Corporation in Boulder, Colo., this dual polarization radar operates at approximately 4.5 gigahertz. The 3D measurements of cloud reflectivity, precipitation, and vertical velocity provided by the five new scanning radars at the SGP site will greatly enhance researchers’ ability to understand and model precipitation and cloud systems.

North Slope of Alaska: Infrastructure work at the Barrow site advanced significantly in preparation for upcoming instruments installations. Pilings and a platform for new lidar and radar shelters at the Great White are in process, and pilings for the new autosonde launcher – delivered to the site and awaiting installation - were also installed. Electrical and mechanical upgrades to the site maintenance building are progressing, as well as welding and electrical upgrades at the Barrow Arctic Research Center, which will host a new X-band scanning ARM precipitation radar.

January 2011

Southern Great Plains: A new atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer was installed at the SGP site, while much needed site expansion capabilities took a giant leap forward to accommodate the increasing facility-wide technical and support services provided by SGP staff. Operations staff moved into a new energy-efficient modular building that replaced old, outdated office trailers. Meanwhile, walls and all utilities were completed for the expanded shipping and receiving warehouse.

ARM Mobile Facility 2: Two new instruments joined the AMF2 instrument suite operating in Steamboat Springs, Colo., for the STORMVEX field campaign. A new 3-channel microwave radiometer was installed with the instruments at the Valley site, at the base of Werner Mountain. This new instrument measures precipitable water vapor and liquid water path. Meanwhile, at the Thunderhead Lodge site near the ski area gondola, a new high spectral resolution lidar joined the AMF2 instruments suite. This advanced lidar measures aerosol optical properties more directly than any other type of lidar system, and can differentiate between particles scattered by molecules versus cloud and aerosol.

December 2010

Happy holidays indeed, with several key accomplishments throughout the user facility!

Southern Great Plains: All three X-band scanning ARM precipitation radars (X-SAPRs) for the SGP site completed final acceptance testing. As soon as an operational frequency is authorized, continuous data will begin flowing to the ARM Data Archive. Completion of this key milestone culminates an enormous effort by SGP site operations staff, the vendor, RadTech, and ARM radar engineers to integrate the infrastructure and instrumentation for these sophisticated new radars, which provide a new measurement capability for the ARM Facility.

Signal processor upgrades to the millimeter wave cloud radar (MMCR) were also completed. These upgrades are so significant—using only the original antenna and transmitter—that the result is essentially a new radar. The MMCR will be retired at all of ARM’s fixed research sites in favor of the new model, now called the Ka-band ARM zenith radar, or KAZR. Read more in the Facility News article.

Tropical Western Pacific: A new Raman lidar began operating at the ARM site in Darwin, Australia in November. Modeled after the instrument at the SGP site, this is the first operational Raman lidar in the tropics and the only active remote sensing instrument capable of providing simultaneous measurements of water vapor, clouds, and aerosols at the Darwin site. Read this Facility News article for more information and a look at the data.

Also installed at the Darwin site in December were a new atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer, or AERI, and a Doppler lidar. The AERI instruments throughout the ARM Facility are nearly a decade old and being replaced with the new up-to-date models. Meanwhile, the Doppler lidar represents a brand new measurement capability for the facility, enabling 3D mapping of turbulence structure and measurement of horizontal wind profiles. For more information, read this Facility News article from the Doppler lidar test period.

ARM Mobile Facility 1: In preparation for an upcoming deployment in India, a set of two new solar array spectrometers were shipped to the AMF1 staging facility in Pagosa Springs, Colo. One spectrometer points straight up for zenith measurements once every second, while the other has a 180-degree field of view for hemispheric measurements at 30-second intervals. With an approximate spectral resolution of 5 nanometers or better, the two spectrometers will operate in tandem to enhance current ARM measurements of zenith radiance and direct and diffuse irradiance.

November 2010

Joining more than a dozen new instruments already incorporated into the ARM Aerial Facility, a Counter-flow Virtual Impactor was received from Brechtel Manufacturing, Inc., and integrated with the Gulfstream-1 aircraft. This instrument inlet selectively removes all aerosols from the sampling stream except for the cloud droplets.

At the Southern Great Plains (SGP) site, a new Aerosol Chemistry Speciation Monitor was integrated into the Aerosol Observing System. Designed by Aerodyne Research, Inc., it provides real-time measurements of the mass and chemical composition—such as ammonium, nitrate, sulfate, chloride, and organics—in small airborne particles.

Also at the SGP site, data communication towers and radio equipment for all SGP radar sites, including the Central Facility, are now installed. Meanwhile, at the Barrow site, all components for the X-band scanning ARM precipitation radar are now on location and await installation when weather permits in late spring.

October 2010

This month, final installation was completed for the remaining infrastructure and instrumentation comprising three new X-Band scanning ARM precipitation radars (SAPRs) at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) site. In addition, footers were poured for a communication tower for the C-band SAPR. All the new SAPRs are located several kilometers to the north, south and east from the SGP Central Facility, as shown in this image.

A substantial concrete pad and footings for the shipping and receiving expansion at the SGP site were completed, followed by the erection of steel supports for a new shipping and receiving support building. In addition, excavation is underway for a new modular office building, along with supporting foundation work.

As described in this Facility News article, three new Doppler lidars began a test period at the SGP site, bringing the ARM Facility one step closer to adding these important new measurements to its data collection. One will stay at the SGP site and one will join the ARM Mobile Facility. The last will go to ARM’s Tropical Western Pacific (TWP) site in Darwin, Australia.

At the Darwin site, a new weighing bucket rain gauge with wind shield was installed. In the coming months, this will be paired with a new 2D video disdrometer to comprise a new Reference Precipitation Network (RPN). The new RPN will enhance the 4D measurements of precipitation from new scanning radars at the TWP and SGP sites.

September 2010

Ending fiscal year 2010 with a bang, numerous instruments funded through the Recovery Act were deployed with the ARM second mobile facility (AMF2) in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Led by the AMF2 team from Argonne National Laboratory, installation activities began in mid-September at three different locations around the Steamboat Springs ski mountain. On September 23, Brookhaven National Laboratory issued a press release about their contribution, the Aerosol Observing System. More information and progress of the deployment can be followed on the AMF2 Blog, with additional photos available on Flickr.

Also in September, a second X-band scanning ARM precipitation radar (X-SAPR) was installed at the Southern Great Plains site, this one at a location southwest of the Central Facility. Components for the third and final X-SAPR for the SGP site are on location and ready for install.

August 2010

With 100 percent of Recovery Act procurements in place, numerous new instrument systems were deployed in the field in August, with additional site preparation and instrument integration progressing on all fronts.

Installation of the first X-band scanning ARM cloud radar (X-SAPR) at the Southern Great Plains site was completed on August 31. This marks a critical milestone as three more of these sophisticated new radars will be deployed at the SGP site, while a fourth will go to the Barrow site in Alaska.

In the Tropical Western Pacific, a new ceilometer became the first Recovery Act instrument to begin operating at the ARM site in Darwin, Australia, followed closely by a new sunphotometer and present weather sensor. The site also received new computing and network infrastructure to upgrade the site data system for all the new instruments. And with a fresh concrete pad, the Darwin site also stands ready to receive a new Raman lidar, which completed successful testing at Sandia National Laboratory and will be shipped out in September. A new ceilometer and present weather detector were also installed at the Manus Island site in August. View images in flickr.

In a brand new capability for ARM’s tropical sites, several new eddy correlation flux measurement systems were installed, one in Darwin, and several others at surrounding locations. These new ECORs are complemented with new surface energy balance systems, resulting in a total measurement of the surface energy balance in several locations.

In other Recovery Act news, the remote balloon launcher was received at the North Slope of Alaska site in Barrow, and operator training is scheduled. Meanwhile, the Aerosol Observing System for the second ARM Mobile Facility completed integration and testing at Brookhaven National Laboratory and is ready to support the upcoming initial deployment in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

And finally, Recovery Act project lead Jimmy Voyles represented the user facility at the inaugural Office of Science Graduate Fellows Conference, held at Argonne National Laboratory in early August. Read more about this event in the ARM News Center article.

July 2010
Customized enclosures for several new aerosols observation systems passed acceptance testing and were shipped to Brookhaven National Laboratory for instrument installation and integration. This is an important milestone in the completion of the overall systems. Read the full article in the ARM News Center.

Also in July, a newly upgraded micropulse lidar began sending routine data from the ARM Southern Great Plains site to the ARM Data Archive. By moving to the fast-switching dual polarization technology, the return signal is now recorded nearly simultaneously in two channels rather than the several second gap in the previous single polarization mode. Upgraded MPLs are planned for deployment throughout the user facility.

In addition, a new ceilometer was installed with the ARM Mobile Facility on Graciosa Island, and footings and concrete pads were constructed for the three new X-band scanning ARM precipitation radars at the ARM Southern Great Plains site. For more photos of ARM's Recovery Act progress, see the image collection on the ARM flickr page.

June 2010
With new and upgraded instruments throughout the user facility, the creation of large data sets will demand attention in many areas, such as data collections, transfer, processing, and storage. Upgrades and acceptance testing of new equipment for the ARM Data Management Facility were completed this month. The new Oracle computing and storage systems provide more than 5x increase in capacity, including more than 130 terabytes of useable storage. The new system will use Infiniband (a very high-speed network technology) to ensure maximum performance for the large amounts of data to be processed.

Also in June, a new ultra high sensitivity aerosol spectrometer, or UHSAS, completed testing and was installed on the Gulfstream-1 research aircraft to obtain data for the Carbonaceous Aerosol and Radiative Effects Study field campaign in California. This G-1 fact sheet provides an overview of the aircraft, including additional enhancements from the Recovery Act and other funding sources.

And a new ceilometer was installed at the ARM North Slope of Alaska site in Barrow, following the initial installation of the new ceilometer at the Southern Great Plains site in April.

May 2010
Factory acceptance testing of a new Remote Balloon Launcher for the ARM North Slope of Alaska site was completed in late April and the self-contained “autosonde” unit is now on its way to Barrow; read the Facility Update article for more information. Aircraft infrastructure, data system, and instrument systems continue to be received, with integration tasks proceeding in parallel with field testing for the CARES field campaign, which begins in June. Construction at the ARM Southern Great Plains site is now underway for the new X-band radar, and equipment upgrades to the ARM Data Management Facility have been installed and are under acceptance testing.
April 2010
In mid-April, a new ceilometer was deployed at the ARM Southern Great Plains site, representing the first ground-based instrument procured through the Recovery Act to begin collecting routine ARM data. Read the article in the ARM News Center for more information. Elsewhere throughout the user facility, instrumentation and equipment continue to be received, with 46 instrument systems received to date and site preparation and integration plans in process.
March 2010
A critical design review with the vendor (ARC) for the C-Band radar was successfully completed on March 14, 2010. Soil sampling is complete at the Southern Great Plains site to begin infrastructure installation for the X-band radars. Instrumentation and equipment for all instruments systems continue to be received for integration, with 44 instruments systems received to date.

Also in March, Jimmy Voyles and Jim Mather shared this informative poster (pdf, 10MB) about ARM's Recovery Act efforts at the DOE's Atmospheric System Research meeting in Bethesda, Maryland. During the meeting's poster sessions, ARM infrastructure staff presented 16 posters covering their efforts associated with the Recovery Act. For more information about ARM's participation at the meeting, read this article.

February 2010
A preliminary design review for the High-Spectral Resolution Lidar was successfully conducted; other tasks are on track. Contracts are now in place for 100% of our instrument procurements for the full $60M funding allocation, and 36 instrument systems have been received to date.
January 2010
Contracts have been placed for 98 percent of ARM's instrument procurements, with 27 instrument systems received. A number of critical design reviews were successfully completed: upgrades to ARM's Data Management Facility; MMCR Signal Processing Upgrades and Scanning Cloud Radar (ProSensing); and X-band Scanning ARM Precipitation Radars (Radtec). In addition, preliminary design reviews were completed for the C-band Scanning ARM Precipitation Radars (ARC) and the Shipborne Radar Wind Profiler (DeTect).

Many of the computing and networking components for the Data Archive have been received; installation and integration of equipment continues. Aircraft infrastructure, data systems and instrument systems are being received and integration tasks are proceeding.

December 2009
This ARM feature article highlights the completion of successful preliminary design reviews held in November for an influx of new radars planned for deployment throughout the user facility. Kevin Widener, leader of ARM's radar group, led the reviews and provides some context about the importance of this key milestone in the Recovery Act deployment plan for the radars.

Also, Argonne National Laboratory published an article about the Recovery Act investments in ARM and their role in the overall effort. Their portion ($4.6 million) is primarily to provide infrastructure support for the cloud and precipitation radars that will be deployed at the ARM Southern Great Plains site, and the collection, processing, and dissemination of data from all the ARM sites.

November 2009
A press release issued on November 12 by Communication and Power Industries describes their contracts for $4.8 million in Recovery Act funds from ARM that will provide key components for six new multi-frequency cloud radar systems. These radars are used for fundamental research on the effects of clouds and precipitation on climate.
October 2009
A guest article about the Southern Great Plains site, written by site scientist Peter Lamb, appeared in News Oklahoma on October 25. The article describes the evolution of the site into the world's largest atmospheric observatory and mentions the coming enhancements from $12 million in Recovery Act funds.

Meanwhile, successful preliminary design reviews were successfully completed for a new solar spectrometer and for Data Management Facility infrastructure upgrades.

September 2009
A press release from Sandia National Laboratories describes $5 million in enhancements coming to ARM sites in Barrow, Alaska; Darwin, Australia; and Oklahoma. The release features Mark Ivey, site manager for ARM North Slope of Alaska locale, and his colleague Jeff Goldsmith at Sandia/California.
August 2009
Remaining 10 percent of funds released from DOE to PNNL. Designs for aerosol observing systems are progressing well.
July 2009
All specifications, sole source justifications, requests for information, and statements of work are complete. Request for proposals for all major items of equipment have been issued and inter-laboratory contracts are in process, with three out of five complete. Procurement and development activities are on track.
June 2009
Site survey in Barrow, Alaska for possible locations for new radars and radio-acoustic sounding system.
May 2009
Initial funds released from DOE to PNNL. Project execution begins.