ARM Recovery Act Project FAQs

  1. Why is ARM buying new instruments and equipment?
    The ARM Climate Research Facility (ARM) is receiving $60 million dollars in Recovery Act funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science to build the next generation facility for climate change research. Using input from past ARM user workshops and ARM working group discussion, ARM has planned for the purchase and deployment of an expansive array of new instruments and equipment to improve the capabilities of the facility and provide a 3D capability. To support new instrumentation and 3D capability, ARM also is investing in the infrastructure necessary to support the increased data volumes and distribution requirements.
  2. What types of instruments and equipment will be purchased with the Recovery Act funds?
    The ARM Climate Research Facility is planning to purchase scanning precipitation and scanning cloud radars, wind profilers, lidars (high-spectral resolution, micropulse, Doppler, and Raman), surface flux and aerosol instrumentation, microwave radiometers, and infrared and solar spectrometers. Aircraft instrumentation for clouds and aerosols will be added to ARM's capabilities. Equipment for a mobile aerosol system for the mobile facility also will be purchased. The ARM Data Archive and site data systems will invest in their infrastructure to support the new data requirements that will result from the purchase of the new instrumentation.
  3. How many instruments will be purchased?
    A total of 143 instruments is currently in the acquisition plan. The purchase will include scanning precipitation and scanning cloud radars, wind profilers, lidars (high-spectral resolution, micropulse, Doppler, and Raman), surface flux and aerosol instrumentation, microwave radiometers, and infrared and solar spectrometers, aircraft instrumentation for clouds and aerosols, and a mobile aerosol system.
  4. What is the process for buying new instruments with the Recovery Act funds?
    The purchase of instruments and equipment will follow the contracting and request for proposals process administered by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, who is managing the overall Recovery Act effort for ARM.
  5. Where will the instruments be deployed?
    Instruments will be purchased for all the ARM sites including both mobile facilities and the aerial facility. Some instruments will be purchased to support all of the ARM sites and be deployed as needed.
  6. How many new instruments per site?
    Each site will be acquiring some new equipment. The number of instruments per site will vary based on needs of the site and existing instrumentation. New equipment totals for each site are approximately as follows: 10 for the North Slope of Alaska, 11 for the Southern Great Plains, 21 for the ARM Aerial Facility, 24 for the Tropical West Pacific, 38 for the mobile facilities. The remaining instruments (about 40) will be purchased for use throughout the facility and deployed as needed.
  7. When will the new instruments be deployed?
    Instruments and equipment will be purchased over the next 18 months (i.e., March 2009 to September 2010). Some instruments will be deployed as early as the end of fiscal year 2010. Documentation for the instruments will be added when data are delivered to the ARM Data Archive.
  8. When will the data be available?
    Data from new instrumentation will be available in the ARM Data Archive once the quality of the data has been confirmed. This process usually takes one month after the instruments are deployed and the ingests have been developed. Look for the data in the Archive beginning in fiscal year 2011. Announcements of data availability will be provided in the ARM News Center; be sure to subscribe to the News Center RSS feed.
  9. How can I learn more about Recovery Act funding?
    For more information about the Recovery Act funding, see For questions about ARM's Recovery Act plan, contact Jimmy Voyles, ARM's Recovery Act Project Manager, at .

Public Q&A

If you have a question about our Recovery Act efforts, send it to Jimmy Voyles, ARM's Recovery Act Project Manager, at . We'll post the question and answer here.

  • Question: What will the ARRA-purchased equipment enable you to measure that you cannot measure today? (July 22, 2009)
    Answer: The Recovery Act equipment will allow all of our permanent, mobile, and aerial research sites to measure the detailed (sub grid-scale) 3-dimensional structure of cloud microphysics and precipitation. Also, we are adding an array of ground based and aerial instrumentation to sample and analyze aerosol size distribution, concentration, composition, and chemistry. This combination of instrumentation and the associated data products will provide research insights into the 3-dimensional formation and life cycle of clouds, including the aerosol direct effect, indirect effect, and chemical aging. This information will improve our physical understanding of clouds and aerosols and the predictive performance of climate models.
  • Question: What purpose does this "Multi-frequency" radar serve? Is it a weather radar for tracking thunderstorms or? (May 20, 2009)
    Answer: These radars operate at frequencies higher than normal weather radars so that we can get more detailed 3-dimensional measurements of clouds. Understanding clouds and how they affect the radiation balance of the Earth is essential to understanding climate change.