Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility

The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility ( is a multi-platform scientific user facility with the objective of providing a detailed and accurate description of the Earth’s atmosphere in diverse climate regimes to resolve the uncertainties in climate and earth system models. ARM provides the national and international research community with strategically located in situ and remote sensing observatories designed to improve the understanding and representation, in climate and earth system models, of clouds and aerosols as well as their interactions and coupling with the Earth’s surface. Within DOE, ARM’s major clients are the Atmospheric System Research (ASR), Terrestrial Ecosytems Science (TES), Regional and Global Climate Modeling and Earth System Modeling programs and Earth and Environmental System Modeling programs. ARM, TES, and EMSL collaborate on field experiments such as GOAmazon.

ARM was the first climate change field research facility to operate cutting-edge instrumentation on a long-term continuous basis and operates at fixed and varying locations around the globe. The ARM fixed sites are located in diverse climate regimes representing mid-latitude, polar, and marine environments (i.e., the Southern Great Plains and the North Slope of Alaska in the United States and the Eastern North Atlantic). Each ARM site uses a leading edge array of cloud-, aerosol-, and precipitation-observing instruments to record long-term continuous measurements of atmospheric and surface properties. ARM also provides shorter-term (months rather than years) measurements with its two mobile facilities (AMFs) and its aerial measurement capability (AAF).

Building on its success, in 2014 the ARM facility embarked on a reconfiguration strategy for even better observations of atmospheric processes to constrain high-resolution process models. Key elements of the new strategy include the creation of two "super sites" in the United States:

  • Southern Great Plains – measurements at the SGP site in Oklahoma will be augmented to include additional scanning and profiling remote sensors and more detailed measurements of the land-atmosphere interface.
  • North Slope of Alaska – aerial operations will link measurements from Barrow and Oliktok, and unmanned aerial systems will provide additional spatial information around Oliktok.

Additionally, ARM is developing a capability for routine high resolution modeling at the SGP super site. To support the expansion of the continental U.S. site in Oklahoma, operations at ARM sites in the Tropical Western Pacific (TWP) will end in 2014. Data obtained from these sites will remain available to the scientific community through the ARM Data Archive to support continuing research in tropical climate.

ARM has several international collaborations that enhance its ability to provide needed data from key climatic regions. Each of the fixed sites are enabled by cooperation between ARM and its hosts. Similar arrangements support ARM Mobile Facility and aerial campaigns in other countries. Recent examples are the collaboration with Brazil (GOAmazon) and Finland (Biogenic Aerosols – Effects on Clouds and Climate) both of whom will share their relevant data with ARM users.

The resultant data are available through the data archive. These data are used as a resource for over 100 journal articles per year, which represent tangible evidence of ARM's contribution to advances in almost all areas of atmospheric radiation and cloud research.

Additional programmatic information is available via the ARM homepage.


A call for proposals to deploy the AMF or AAF to a new location or to augment observations at one of the fixed sites is issued each year and is announced in several publications and newsletters Requests for small campaigns, such as hosting guest instruments, are accepted throughout the year. The process for these proposals is described on the Submitting Proposals Guidelines page. Proposed projects for the AMF and AAF are reviewed by the ARM Science Board, a highly respected group of scientists.

Program Manager:

Dr. Sally McFarlane
Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, SC-23.1
Department of Energy -- GTN Bldg
1000 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20585-1290
(301) 903-0943
Fax: (301) 903-8519