Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility US Department of Energy

ARM Mobile Facilities


To explore research questions beyond those addressed by ARM’s fixed atmospheric observatories in Alaska, Oklahoma, and the Azores, scientists can propose a field campaign to use one of three ARM mobile facilities (AMF) to collect atmospheric and climate data from under-sampled regions around the world.

Each AMF is designed to operate in any environment—from the cold of the Arctic to the heat of the tropics—for campaigns typically lasting about a year.

Science Around the World

The first AMF (AMF1) was deployed in 2005, and a second AMF (AMF2) made its maiden deployment in 2010. In fall of 2013, a third AMF (AMF3) joined the ARM Facility suite of capabilities, and is currently on extended deployment to Oliktok Point, Alaska. Including the fixed sites and mobile facilities, ARM has deployed atmospheric observatories to regions on all continents.

The ARM Mobile Facilities consist of several portable shelters, a baseline suite of instruments, communications, and data systems. When deployed for a field campaign, an experienced project management and engineering team travels with the AMF to set up and modify the shelters and instruments, and train and manage staff who continuously operate the facilities.

Scientific and infrastructure staff are also available for collaborative planning activities, as well as local on-site or virtual support for scientists using an AMF for their research.

Instruments and Data

AMFs have instrumentation and data systems similar to the fixed atmospheric observatories, and about 50 instruments are deployed with each facility to obtain continuous measurements of clouds, aerosols, precipitation, energy, and other meteorological variables.  Measurement capabilities of the AMFs include standard meteorological instrumentation, a broadband and spectral radiometer suite, and remote-sensing measurements including lidars and cloud radars.

Instrumentation for AMF2 is, with a few notable exceptions, the same as used by AMF1 and AMF3. Because AMF2 was designed to support shipboard deployments, the baseline suite of instruments are marine-focused.

The current AMF3 deployment at Oliktok Point has access to special-use air space, which allows site operators to routinely fly unmanned aircraft and tethered balloon systems.

AMFs are designed to host guest instruments or collaborate with experiments from other agencies, making them ideal platforms for conducting joint research anywhere in the world.

Data from these facilities undergo quality checks and are made freely available to the international research community in near-real time through the ARM Data Center via Data Discovery.