NSA Operations

Barrow Facility

Instrumentation at the Barrow facility operates 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, year around. The instrumentation is routinely maintained using an extensive "daily rounds" checklist 5 days a week, except during field campaigns, when the needs of the field campaign determines if some other schedule of checks is needed. The daily rounds call for the launch of a balloon-borne temperature and humidity sonde once a day from the vicinity of the ARM Climate Research Facility instrumentation on NOAA land. The National Weather Service launches two standard upper-air soundings per day at Barrow.

Routine operations at the Barrow facility are conducted by local site operators employed through UIC Science, LLC, under the direction of the ARM Climate Research Facility/North Slope of Alaska (ARM/NSA/AAO) Onsite Facilities Manager, Walter Brower. The Chief Operator is James Ivanoff with Walter Bower serving as Backup Operator, and Josh Ivanoff serving as Part-Time Operator. The UIC/Science Division, under the direction of Anne Jensen, also supplies the site with a range of supporting services, including utilities, additional manpower, and heavy equipment as needed.

Atqasuk Facility

Although it would be highly desirable to have the Atqasuk facility be a mirror image of that at Barrow, and to operate it in the same manner as Barrow, budgetary constraints make that infeasible. So, the issue is how to operate the Atqasuk facility in a manner that yields the most favorable cost-benefit ratio, while still holding costs in the affordable range. The present plan is to operate the low maintenance meteorological and radiometric instrumentation continuously, but to only operate the facility in a "full up" condition during field campaigns and other scheduled periods. Since the inland Arctic Slope environment is not well known, even the limited subset of data streams that it is planned to acquire continuously will be of great value. These data streams will provide a unique data set on which modelers can begin to build.

An individual living in Atqasuk has been identified as a part-time local site operator.  At this time, that individual is Doug Whiteman. It is planned that an abbreviated set of daily rounds be implemented at Atqasuk, 5 days a week, as at Barrow. It is expected that the abbreviated rounds will take 1-2 hours per day.

Maintenance of the instrumentation at Atqasuk would be largely handled as an extension of Barrow. Maintenance experience would be taken into account in determining which instrumentation would be operated continuously and which would operate only during field campaigns. Data Quality Assurance will be handled in very much the same way as for Barrow. However, the satellite data line will not allow all data during field campaigns to be checked in real time. Hence, some limited sampling scheme will need to be worked out for those few instruments that may be deployed with high bandwidth requirements.

Data Quality Assurance

The ARM Data Quality Office (DQO) in conjunction with the NSA Site Scientist are charged with assuring data quality at the NSA climate research facility site. To ensure that the data collected are of "known and reasonable quality" (an explicit goal of ARM), a team of analysts at the Data Quality Office issues weekly assessments to site operations, engineering, and the site scientist team. ARM's Data Quality Office, via the Data Quality Program, continuously assures the quality of data collected by our field instrumentation. Also, the Data Quality Office interacts with site operations, instrument mentors, and the site scientist team to develop our diagnostic tools and troubleshoot problems with instrumentation by participating in the weekly NSA site operations call.