The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, is a major new program of atmospheric measurement and modeling. The program is intended to improve the understanding of processes that affect atmospheric radiation and the description of these processes in climate models. An accurate description of atmospheric radiation and its interaction with clouds and cloud processes is necessary to improve the performance of and confidence in models used to study and predict climate change. The ARM Program will employ five (this paper was prepared prior to a decision to limit the number of primary measurement sites to three) highly instrumented primary measurement sites for up to 10 years at land and ocean locations, from the Tropics to the Arctic, and will conduct observations for shorter periods at additional sites and in specialized campaigns. Quantities to be measured at these sites include longwave and shortwave radiation, the spatial and temporal distribution of clouds, water vapor, temperature, and other radiation-influencing quantities. There will be further observations of meteorological variables that influence these quantities, including wind velocity, precipitation rate, surface moisture, temperature, and fluxes of sensible and latent heat. These data will be used for the prospective testing of models of varying complexity, ranging from detailed process models to the highly parameterized description of these processes for use in general circulation models of the earth's atmosphere. This article reviews the scientific background of the ARM Program, describes the design of the program, and presents its status and plans.

This content is only available as a PDF.

Footnotes

*Global Studies Program, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Richland, Washington.

+Department of Applied Science, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York.