ARM Aerial Facility

Numerous instrumented aircraft participated in CLASIC, a cross-disciplinary interagency research effort.
Numerous instrumented aircraft participated in CLASIC, a cross-disciplinary interagency research effort.

As an integral measurement capability of the ARM Climate Research Facility, the ARM Aerial Facility (AAF) provides airborne measurements required to answer science questions proposed by the ARM Science Team and the external research community. Aircraft choice is dictated by science requirements—such as the required measurements and desired flight profile—and aircraft availability. Depending on the science mission, either multiple aircraft platforms or a Gulfstream-1 aircraft are available to address the wide range of aircraft measurement requirements associated with atmospheric science issues. Data obtained from the aircraft are documented, checked for quality, integrated into the Data Archive, and made freely available in a timely manner for use by the scientific community.

The AAF enhances the utility of long-term ground-based measurements by providing:

  • in situ measurements of cloud properties for evaluating and improving remote sensing retrievals
  • spatial sampling not possible from the ground to provide context for and extend the ground-based measurements, for example, ice crystal habit or aerosol size distributions
  • aircraft measurements in data sets for testing and evaluating high-resolution models and model parameterizations

To acquire airborne measurements using the appropriate aerial vehicle and instruments, intensive field campaigns or long-term, regularly-scheduled flights can be requested through the ARM field campaign process, a competitive process based upon scientific proposals submitted by teams of scientists. The ARM Climate Research Facility's Science Board reviews proposals for use of the AAF in order to maximize the science return within the budget allotted to the program. Recent field campaigns include Indirect and Semi-Direct Aerosol Campaign (ISDAC), Routine AAF Clouds with Low Optical Water Depths (CLOWD) Optical Radiative Observations (RACORO), Small Particles in Cirrus (SPARTICUS), Carbonaceous Aerosol and Radiative Effects Study (CARES), and The Two Column Aerosol Project (TCAP). See AAF field campaigns for a complete list.

For technical assistance related to measurements from aerial vehicles or possible aircraft, science, or mission profiles, please see the AAF Contacts in the navigation section.

*From 2007-2009, the ARM Aerial Facility was known as the ARM Aerial Vehicles Program, which was the successor to the ARM Unmanned Aerospace Vehicle (UAV) Program.