ARM’s New Research on Climate Spans the Globe

Each year, the ARM Climate Research Facility receives proposals to use key components of the Facility for extended or intensive field campaigns to improve understanding of atmospheric processes that are relevant to regional and global climate. The Department of Energy has selected six field campaigns to take place from 2015 through most of 2019. These new efforts kick off in the summer of 2015 at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) site.

ARM Support for the PECAN Experiment, Enhanced Soundings for Local Coupling Studies, and ARM Airborne Carbon Measurements VI

Two new field campaigns to help improve weather and climate models will take place at the ARM Southern Great Plains Site in summer 2015. Another will begin in October 2015 and run for a year.
Two new field campaigns to help improve weather and climate models will take place at the ARM Southern Great Plains Site in summer 2015. Another will begin in October 2015 and run for a year.
A large fraction of yearly precipitation on the U.S. Great Plains, the world’s breadbasket, comes from the movement of air at night, but the mechanisms for that movement are poorly understood. The Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN), supported by the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is a large field campaign encompassing most of western and central Kansas, northern Oklahoma, and southern Nebraska that the U.S. Department of Energy will collaborate with through the ARM Support for the PECAN (AS-PECAN) Experiment. The ARM SGP site forms the southeastern cornerstone for the PECAN campaign to understand and accurately simulate the processes that start and maintain air movement and precipitation at night. Measurements taken during June and July 2015 will serve as the leading data set for climate prediction studies by scientists worldwide.

Principal Investigator: Dave Turner, NOAA

Also at the SGP site in the summer of 2015, the Enhanced Soundings for Local Coupling Studies will take frequent atmospheric profiles. These high-resolution data will improve understanding of how the lowest levels of the atmosphere are affected by the properties of the land surface within a day. Matching the diurnal development of the atmosphere is a fundamental yet extremely complex task for atmospheric models. The results of these studies will also inform how ARM could better measure interactions between the land and the atmosphere.

Principal Investigator: Craig Ferguson, State University of New York

In addition, the SGP site will see continuation of the ARM Airborne Carbon Measurements campaigns for ARM-ACME VI beginning in October 2015 and continuing for a year. For this effort, the Cessna 206 will continue to take regular carbon measurements over the site. Because carbon plays such an important role in the atmosphere, ARM has been measuring and analyzing its presence at the SGP site for more than six years. These measurements will be used to improve understanding of how land-atmosphere interactions and changes in water and energy influence carbon concentrations. This work will also shed light on how greenhouse gases are transported in the atmosphere.

Principal Investigator: Sebastien Biraud, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Layered Atlantic Smoke Interactions with Clouds

The first ARM mobile facility is heading for Ascension Island in the southeast Atlantic Ocean for a year-long campaign to study how smoke transported from biomass burning in Southern Africa effects low-hanging clouds.
The first ARM mobile facility is heading for Ascension Island in the southeast Atlantic Ocean for a year-long campaign to study how smoke transported from biomass burning in Southern Africa effects low-hanging clouds.

Under the Layered Atlantic Smoke Interactions with Clouds (LASIC) effort, ARM’s first mobile facility (AMF1) and its atmospheric profiling equipment will travel to isolated Ascension Island between South America and Africa. This year-long campaign (April 2016 to March 2017) will study how smoke is transported in the atmosphere and its effect on low clouds. Southern Africa produces more smoke from biomass burning than any other place on earth. This smoke is transported through the atmosphere across the Atlantic, but its path and how that aerosol changes as it is transported have never been verified with comprehensive surface-based measurements. The results of this deployment will provide a stringent test for global aerosol models used to predict climate change.

Principal Investigator: Paquita Zuidema, University of Miami

The ARM Facility will be supporting Australian agencies measuring cloud conditions from remote Macquarie Island between New Zealand and Antarctica. Image courtesy of M. Murphy, via Wikimedia Commons.
The ARM Facility will be supporting Australian agencies measuring cloud conditions from remote Macquarie Island between New Zealand and Antarctica. Image courtesy of M. Murphy, via Wikimedia Commons.
Macquarie Island Cloud and Radiation Experiment

Farther to the south and west in the Southern Hemisphere, ARM will deploy a variety of ground-based instrumentation to Macquarie Island in the southwest Pacific Ocean, halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica, for an off-site campaign. The Macquarie Island Cloud and Radiation Experiment (MICRE) will measure clouds, aerosols, and their radiative effects in the remote Southern Ocean region, an area often prone to large errors when it comes to modeling regional and global responses to climate change. The two-year effort (March 2016 to March 2018) will characterize the full seasonal cycle and variability. The experiment will be conducted in coordination with the Australian Antarctic Division and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Principal Investigator: Roger Marchand, University of Washington

The MOSAIC Atmosphere

Beginning in fall 2018, the second ARM mobile facility will participate in an international, multiagency campaign on an ice breaker in the Central Arctic Ocean to study perennial sea ice. Image courtesy of NASA.
Beginning in fall 2018, the second ARM mobile facility will participate in an international, multiagency campaign on an ice breaker in the Central Arctic Ocean to study perennial sea ice. Image courtesy of NASA.
One of the grand challenges for global climate research is the dramatic decline in the perennial sea-ice pack of the Arctic. Understanding this change requires targeted, interdisciplinary measurements within the central Arctic sea ice environment. The international, multiagency campaign Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAIC) puts the second ARM mobile facility and Mobile Aerosol Observing System on an ice breaker in the Central Arctic Ocean as part of the Year of Polar Prediction organized by the World Meteorological Organization-World Weather Research Programme Polar Prediction Project. The ice breaker will freeze in and drift with the Arctic sea ice for a full year (September 2018 to October 2019), measuring the atmosphere, sea ice, upper ocean, and biosphere.

Principal Investigator: Matthew Shupe, University of Colorado / NOAA

# # #

The ARM Climate Research Facility is a national scientific user facility funded through the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. The ARM Facility is operated by nine Department of Energy national laboratories.