Covering 5.5 million square kilometers, the sheer size of the Amazon rain forest has a strong impact on climate in the Southern Hemisphere and is a primary driver of global atmospheric circulation.
Covering 5.5 million square kilometers, the sheer size of the Amazon rain forest has a strong impact on climate in the Southern Hemisphere and is a primary driver of global atmospheric circulation.
Just the words "the Amazon" conjure up visions of a vast jungle, huge snakes, and exotic critters too numerous to mention. But behind these colorful flora and fauna are the interconnected components of Earth's climate system that make them possible: sun, water, wind, and soil.

Soon, scientists will have a wealth of new data from the Amazon Basin to study this natural cycle. For the next two years, the Green Ocean Amazon, or GOAMAZON, field campaign is gathering climate data using a comprehensive network of instrumented observation sites located around Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, Brazil.

This city of nearly two million people and a heavy industrial zone is surrounded by thousands of kilometers of pristine rain forest. Researchers will use data obtained during GOAMAZON to investigate how changes in climate and human influences, such as pollution and deforestation, may impact tropical ecosystems or alter the processes that drive atmospheric circulation around the globe.

As the most heavily instrumented site in this network, the ARM Mobile Facility began operating in January to obtain ground-based measurements of cloud and aerosol properties, precipitation, solar and thermal energy, and standard weather parameters like wind, temperature, humidity, and pressure. This week, the ARM Aerial Facility joins the effort, using a Gulfstream-1 research aircraft to obtain airborne measurements of clouds, aerosols, and trace gases in the region for the next four weeks.

Other sites in the network include sensors mounted to tall towers that measure aerosols and carbon emissions above and below the rain forest canopy, and instruments on the ground to measure moisture above and below the surface. For photos, see the GOAMAZON image collection.

The campaign, which runs through December 2015, is an international collaboration between the United States, Brazil, and Germany. It is led by Scot Martin, Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry at Harvard University, and Jeff Chambers, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Scientific collaborators from the U.S. Department of Energy and the many organizations and institutions involved in GOAMAZON are meeting in Manaus this week, as the G-1 arrives for the first intensive phase of measurements.

The ARM Mobile Facility is managed and operated for DOE by Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The ARM Aerial Facility is managed and operated for DOE by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

For more information, see: