Indian Landscape

The Department of Energy recently announced the selection of three major campaigns that will be funded by the ARM Climate Research Facility in 2011. These campaigns—spanning the continental United States to India to the tropical Pacific Ocean—address major scientific uncertainties related to climate systems around the globe, and each includes significant international or interagency collaborations. They also are the first major ARM experiments to incorporate new capabilities acquired under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

  • Ganges Valley Aerosol Experiment (GVAX), India. Using the ARM Mobile Facility and the ARM Aerial Facility’s Gulfstream-1 research aircraft, researchers will obtain both ground-based and airborne measurements to study the impact of increasing aerosols on the Indian Summer Monsoon, specifically the impact on precipitation. The GVAX science team, led by scientist Rao Kotamarthi from Argonne National Laboratory, will measure relevant radiative, cloud, convection, and aerosol optical characteristics on mainland India over an extended period of time. These measurements will provide a comprehensive data set covering pre-monsoon to post-monsoon conditions that can be used to constrain convection, cloud properties, and aerosols in models. The resulting baseline data set will lead to better evaluation of the potential consequences of increasing regional-scale atmospheric pollution for the Indian Summer Monsoon and, as a consequence, the hydrology of this sensitive climate zone.  Many in-country collaborators will provide valuable complementary measurements.
  • ARM Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) Investigation Experiment (AMIE), Manus Island. Manus Island in Papua New Guinea is the host to one of three ARM sites in the Tropical Western Pacific. Led by scientist Charles Long from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the AMIE campaign will obtain data from Manus to be used to improve understanding and modeling efforts with respect to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO)—an equatorial traveling pattern of anomalous rainfall that is planetary in scale—in the tropical western Pacific area.  In addition to enhanced radiosonde launches during AMIE, the campaign will benefit from new precipitation and cloud radars acquired for the Manus site through the Recovery Act. The AMIE campaign will be coordinated with a related international field campaign, called Cooperative Indian Ocean experiment, on intraseasonal variability in the year 2011. Data from the combined campaigns will allow scientists to study the mechanism and cause of the MJO, which is not accurately simulated in climate models.
  • Mid-latitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment, Oklahoma.  Taking place at the ARM Southern Great Plains site, this joint campaign with the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Project will study cloud and precipitation transitions and environmental quantities that are important for convective parameterization in large-scale models and cloud-resolving model simulations.  Led by Michael Jensen from Brookhaven National Laboratory, the campaign addresses various scientific uncertainties related to large-scale continental convection and how these processes are represented in climate models.  This campaign also takes advantage of Recovery Act investments at the SGP site, providing enhanced radiosonde flights and new precipitation and cloud radars to supplement the already comprehensive ground-based instrument suite at the site.  The combined GPM aircraft and ARM surface-based measurement capabilities will provide key data about a wide variety of convective cloud processes, including: the convection life-cycle and dynamics; condensate transport and detrainment; precipitation microphysics; influences on environment and radiation; and large scale energy feedbacks.