ARM Facility Contributions to International Polar Year

The Department of Energy's International Polar Year (IPY) contributions will be conducted at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility (ARM) located in the North Slope of Alaska. This DOE user facility delivers continuous data for Arctic research and will host two IPY experiments: Radiative Heating in Underexplored Bands Campaign and the Indirect and Semidirect Aerosol Campaign. Other IPY proposals are under review and may be supported. This facility and the research associated with it are funded by the Climate Change Science Program launched in 2002 to further climate research.

The ARM Climate Research Facility operates two sites at the North Slope of Alaska locale: one on the coast at Barrow and another at Atqasuk, about 70 miles inland and to the south of Barrow. This photo shows the Wind Profiler (on the left) and the "Great White" instrument shelter at Barrow.

Situated on the edge of the Arctic Ocean, the North Slope of Alaska (NSA) locale provides important information for ARM research. Fundamentally different climate processes—such as planetary heat loss from the poles and extensive sheets of ice that affect solar absorption and sea level—occur at high latitudes compared to other regions. Due to generally cold temperatures, atmospheric water vapor concentrations in the Arctic are quite low, allowing heat energy from the surface to escape through the atmosphere more easily than in less arid environments.

To obtain information about climate processes in this region, the ARM user facility operates two highly instrumented, permanent research sites at the NSA. The principal instrumented facility was installed near Barrow in 1997, followed by a smaller remote site at Atqasuk in 1999. Continuous atmospheric and cloud property measurements obtained from the permanent research sites at the NSA are providing key datasets for Arctic climate change research. Routine operations at these sites are conducted in partnership with employees of Ukpeagvik Iñupiat Corporation/Science Division.