aos: Aerosol Observing System

The aerosol observing system (AOS) is the primary platform for in situ aerosol measurements at Earth’s surface. Each AOS has a different complement of instruments, which are selected to ensure the best measurements at each deployment site.

The AOS measures aerosol optical properties to better understand how particles interact with solar radiation and influence the earth’s radiation balance. These measurements are useful for calculating parameters used in radiative forcing calculations, such as the aerosol single scattering albedo, asymmetry parameter, mass scattering efficiency, and hygroscopic growth. Measurements made with the AOS form a long-term record at the ARM fixed sites. Shorter measurement records are available from mobile deployments at a wide variety of geographical regions.  These measurements are valuable for:

  • identifying long-term changes in aerosol properties
  • identifying atmospheric processes controlling aerosol life cycle and their influence on clouds
  • providing experimental data for developing and testing atmospheric climate models.

Related Publications


Sedlacek AJ. 2017. Single-Particle Soot Photometer (SP2) Instrument Handbook. Ed. by Robert Stafford, ARM Climate Research Facility. DOE/SC-ARM-TR-169.


Kyrouac J. 2016. Aerosol Observing System Surface Meteorology Instrument Handbook. Ed. by Robert Stafford, DOE/SC-ARM-TR-184. DOE/SC-ARM-TR-184.

Sedlacek AJ. 2016. Cavity Attenuated Phase Shift Monitor Instrument Handbook. Ed. by Robert Stafford, DOE ARM Climate Research Facility. DOE/SC-ARM-TR-155.

Springston SR. 2016. Particle Soot Absorption Photometer (PSAP) Handbook . Ed. by Robert Stafford, ARM Climate Research Facility. DOE/SC-ARM-TR-176.

Biraud S and K Reichi. 2016. Aerosol Observing System Greenhouse Gas (AOS GHG) Monitor Handbook . Ed. by Robert Stafford, ARM Climate Research Facility. DOE/SC-ARM-TR-175.

Kuang C. 2016. Scanning Mobility Particle Spectrometer Instrument Handbook. Ed. by Robert Stafford, ARM Climate Research Facility. DOE/SC-ARM-TR-147.


Dong X, A Schwantes, B Xi, and P Wu. 2015. "Investigation of the marine boundary layer cloud and CCN properties under coupled and decoupled conditions over the Azores." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 120(12), doi:10.1002/2014JD02, 10.1002/2014jd022939. ONLINE.

Parworth C, J Fast, F Mei, T Shippert, C Sivaraman, A Tilp, T Watson, and Q Zhang. 2015. "Long-term measurements of submicrometer aerosol chemistry at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) using an Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM)." Atmospheric Environment, 106, 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2015.01.060. ONLINE.

Dumka UC, D Bhattu, SN Tripathi, DG Kaskaoutis, and BL Madhavan. 2015. "Seasonal inhomogeneity in cloud precursors over Gangetic Himalayan region during GVAX campaign." Atmospheric Research, 155, 10.1016/j.atmosres.2014.11.022.

Dumka UC and DG Kaskaoutis. 2015. "In-situ measurements of aerosol properties and estimates of radiative forcing efficiency over Gangetic-Himalayan region during the GVAX field campaign." Atmospheric Environment, 94, 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2014.05.021.

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