AMF Deployment, Oliktok Point, Alaska
An extended mobile facility deployment—up to five years—will be located at Oliktok Point, approximately 300 kilometers southeast of the ARM site in Barrow, Alaska. Measurements in the Arctic are vital because dramatic changes are occurring at rates greater than predicted by current models. One of the most pressing remaining questions is why the Arctic sea ice is melting so much faster than the models predict. Answering that question requires data acquired from over the Arctic sea ice.
In 2004, as part of the Mixed-Phase Arctic Cloud Experiment (M-PACE), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted an area of "restricted airspace," allowing tethered balloon operations to be conducted at Oliktok Point. The U.S. Department of Energy currently has a request pending with the FAA to declare a strip of airspace as a "warning area," beginning offshore of Oliktok and heading several hundred miles towards the North Pole. Warning areas over international waters are the rough equivalent of restricted airspace over U.S. territory.
The combination of restricted airspace and warning area provides the potential for different types of operations from Oliktok, including manned and unmanned aircraft operations out over the sea ice, dropping instrument probes, and operating instrumented tethered balloons out over the sea ice. This provides a unique opportunity to couple atmospheric observations with ground-based measurements and measurements from over the Arctic Ocean.
This site will be operated for the ARM Facility through Sandia National Laboratories. Planned measurement capabilities include:
- Radars: zenith cloud radar, scanning cloud radar, scanning precipitation radar, and radar wind profiler
- Lidars: micropulse lidar and Doppler lidar
- Atmospheric and boundary state systems: surface meteorological instrumentation, boundary layer cloud system, total sky imager, weighing bucket rain gauge, total precipitation sensor, eddy correlation flux measurement system, and disdrometer
- Radiometers: atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer, microwave radiometer, 3-channel microwave radiometer, multifilter rotating shadowband radiometer, pyranometer, pyroheliometer, pyrgeometer, and blackbody calibration system.