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.

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 has three mobile facilities (AMFs) that have similar observational capabilities to the fixed sites and an aerial facility (AAF) that includes manned research aircraft, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and tethered balloon systems (TBS) for atmospheric research.  Two of the mobile facilities and the aerial facility capabilities are available for short-term deployments to regions of interest based on proposals from the science community.   The third mobile facility conducts longer deployments to regions of high scientific priority.  It recently completed a multi-year deployment to Oliktok Point, AK and will soon move to a site in the Southeast US for a 5-year deployment to address science questions related to biogenic aerosols, land-atmosphere interactions, and convective clouds.

ARM’s high-performance computing and high-resolution modeling capabilities complement and strengthen its observational capabilities.  The high-performance computing capabilities enable ARM users to work with large volumes of ARM data without having to download them to their own computers.  The high-resolution modeling capability provides routine large eddy simulations at ARM sites combined with ARM observations.  These combined observational-modeling datasets provide high-resolution simulations to the research community to support the study of atmospheric processes and observational retrievals and to improve the representation of clouds, aerosols, and radiation in climate models.

Additional programmatic information is available via the ARM homepage.


Within DOE, ARM coordinates closely with the Atmospheric System Research (ASR) program, as many of their funded researchers utilize ARM measurement to study atmospheric processes. ARM also collaborates with the Environmental System Science (ESS) program on field experiments, including the current Surface Atmosphere Integrated Atmospheric Laboratory (SAIL) campaign in Colorado.  ARM data is often used by researchers funded by the Earth and Environmental System Modeling (EESM) programs to evaluate and improve their model simulations.  ARM periodically has joint user facility calls with the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory (EMSL), which allow scientists to use capabilities from both facilities with one proposal.

ARM regularly collaborates with other US agencies and international partners to 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 collaborations with Norway for the COMBLE campaign and with a large set of US and international partners for the MOSAIC campaign in the central Arctic. .

Data Sharing Policy

All of ARM’s data are freely available to the research community through the ARM Data Center.  The ARM Data Center is recognized as a PuRe Data Resource by the DOE Office of Science.  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 and cloud research.


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 modification of measurement strategies of existing instruments, are accepted throughout the year. The process for these proposals is described on the Research Campaigns 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
Earth and Environmental
Systems Sciences Division, SC-33.1
Department of Energy -- GTN Bldg
1000 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20585-1290
(301) 903-0943
Fax: (301) 903-8519