Eastern North Atlantic Site Expands Data Capabilities
First Year of Operations Completed in the Azores
Situated off the coast of Portugal in the Azores, Graciosa Island hosts one of ARM’s newest observation facilities, the Eastern North Atlantic, or ENA. The now one-year-old climate research site has filled with instruments that will lead to cutting-edge research data. ENA’s baseline suite of instruments monitors the interaction of clouds, aerosols, and precipitation in this region.
The ENA site provides a rare data set from the subtropical marine boundary layer where climate models show the greatest discrepancy in how clouds change. ENA data support climate and process-based numerical climate models, which require statistically robust and physically accurate observational data sets obtained over long periods of time. ARM, through Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), began working on international contracts, site design, and instrument selection in late 2012 and shipped the first 12 instrument systems to Graciosa Island for installation in late September of 2013.
Site Installation 101
Overcoming shipping delays and severe weather, the team ran fiber-optics, got the power grid running, and set up data systems to promptly get data flowing back to the national laboratories that operate ARM in the U.S.
"This site installation is a good example of the entire ARM team coming together to do what we do best. We make climate measurements where they are needed most, usually in challenging places," said Paul Ortega, ENA site manager from LANL and the install team leader. "Many collaborators came together to create a world-class climate research facility we can all be proud of."
In February 2014, the international team added a hydrogen generation system, a remote balloon launcher, and refined the aerosol measurement system. Over the summer months, an eddy correlation flux with surface energy balance system (ECOR/SEBS) was added to estimate the total surface energy balance. In addition, the Ka-ARM zenith radar, W-Band Scanning ARM Cloud Radar, radar wind profiler, Doppler lidar, and 2-D video disdrometer instrumentation was also added. (See the ENA photo set in Flickr.)
The site has continued to grow at exceptional rates with the installation of the first of many guest instruments. In December, a field mill sensor from Laboratory of Atmospheric Electricity University of Évora, Portugal, was installed.
Big Installations, Big Plans
A meeting to be held in late January in Lisbon, Portugal, introduced the facilities capability and provided groundwork for a science workshop at the ENA site in the near future. In February 2015, the team will install the last major instrument proposed for ENA, the X-Band Scanning ARM Precipitation Radar, a newer measurement capability for ARM that supports cloud formation and velocity research.
Next spring, a custom sophisticated optics system known as a Raman lidar will be installed and housed in two 20-foot sea containers. This ground-based laser remote sensing instrument measures vertical profiles of water-vapor mixing and several cloud and aerosol-related quantities. To provide profiles of atmospheric constituents, an Atmospheric Sounder Spectrometer for Infrared Spectral Technology (ASSIST) that measures infrared spectral zenith radiance at high spectral resolution is also scheduled to be installed.
"Much of the credit for the successful development of the ENA facility is due to the University of the Azores," said Kim Nitschke, ARM Facilities Manager for ENA from LANL. "The collaborative support provided by Professor Eduardo Azevedo and his team aids all aspects of the facilities operations."
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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.