The interaction of clouds and radiation is a particularly difficult issue in the study of climate change. Clouds have a large impact on the earth's radiation budget but the range of spatial and temporal scales and the complexity of the physical processes associated with clouds made these interactions difficult to simulate. The Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program was established to improve the understanding of the interaction of radiation with the atmosphere with a particular emphasis on the effects of clouds. To continue its role of providing data for the study of these interactions, the ARM program deployed an Atmospheric Radiation and Cloud Station (ARCS) in the tropical western Pacific. This site began operation in October 1996. The tropical western Pacific is a very important climatic region. It is characterized by strong solar heating, high water vapor concentrations, and active convection. The ARCS is equipped with a comprehensive suite of instruments for measuring surface radiation fluxes and properties of the atmospheric state and is intended to operate for the next 10 years. The ARCS is an integrated unit that includes a data management system, a site monitor and control system, an external communications system, redundant electrical power systems, and containers that provide shelter for the equipment as well as work space for site operators, technicians, and visiting scientists. The dataset the ARCS produces will be invaluable in studying issues related to clouds and radiation in the Tropics. The site is located in Manus Province, Papua New Guinea, at 2.060°S, 147.425°E, 300 km north of the island of New Guinea. Two more ARCS are planned for deployment across the tropical Pacific.
*The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.
+Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico.
#Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
@Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington.
&Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York.