History of the DOE ARM Aerial Facility


The Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility is a scientific user facility operating stationary ground sites that provide long-term measurements of climate properties; mobile ground- and ship-based facilities to conduct 6-12 month campaigns; and the ARM Aerial Facility (AAF). AAF airborne observations enhance the surface-based ARM Facility measurements by providing context and high-resolution in situ measurements. These measurements are critical for process understanding, retrieval-algorithm development, and model evaluation that are not possible using surface- or satellite-based techniques. Peer-reviewed proposals to the facility determine which airborne measurements are made.

Established in 2006, the AAF has carried out nine campaigns enabling research on aerosols, clouds, aerosol-cloud interactions, and trace gases. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided funding to procure over 20 new instruments to be used aboard the G-1 and AAF-contracted aircraft. The AAF has matured into a facility with extensive in-house capability. The AAF has over 50 state-of-the-art instruments at its disposal and is typically further augmented by leading-edge guest instrumentation. The AAF supported the maturing and enhancement projects of aerial instruments addressing climate research study areas of radiation (stabilization radiometer and the world’s first airborne Spectrometer for Sun Tracking and Sky-Scanning Atmospheric Research), cloud and ice particles (Modification and Tests of Particle Probe Tips to Mitigate Effects of Ice Shattering and Polar/ Imaging Nephelometer), and clouds (Holographic Detector for Clouds upgrade). To date, over 70 peer-reviewed journal publications have used airborne datasets from AAF campaigns.


Schmid, B., J. M. Tomlinson, J. M. Hubbe, J. M. Comstock, F. Mei, D. Chand, M. S. Pekour, C. D. Kluzek, E. Andrews, S. C. Biraud, G. M. McFarquhar. 2013. “The DOE ARM Aerial Facility,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00040.1.