Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility US Department of Energy

Cloud LAnd Surface Interaction Campaign (CLASIC)

1 June 2007 - 30 June 2007

Lead Scientist: Mark Miller

Observatory: aaf, sgp

Cumulus convection is an important component of the atmospheric radiation budget and hydrologic cycle of the Southern Great Plains (SGP), particularly during the summertime growing season. Continental cumulus convection is strongly modulated by land surface conditions, while at the same time influencing the land surface itself through rain-induced changes in soil moisture and through its impact on photosynthesis. Land surface conditions determine whether the partitioning of surface available energy is dominated by the sensible heat flux or by the latent heat flux, which is an important factor in the evolution of the convective boundary layer. Consequently, land surface characteristics influence the timing and evolution of cumulus convection, in particular the cloud base height, cloud depth, and convective available potential energy. The four ARM Working groups endorsed an Intensive Observation Period (IOP at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) Climate Research User Facility during the summer of 2007. The purpose of this IOP was to advance our understanding of cumulus convection and its controls, particularly those associated with land surface processes. The Cloud and Land Surface Interaction Campaign (CLASIC) IOP covered a period of 1-3 months straddled the winter wheat harvest when large changes in the land surface lead to large changes in the surface albedo, latent heat flux, and sensible heat flux. The working groups were particularly interested in the relationship between land surface processes and the observed cloud cover, and vice versa. The new science that was proposed addressed specific aspects of the problem, especially known model deficiencies and gaps in our physical understanding of cloud and land surface feedbacks. In addition to advancing climate science, the working groups believed that this IOP would help realize the potential of ARM’s new instrument capabilities, provide significant validation data for NASA’s new active satellite remote sensors, and enhance ACRF capabilities by expanding into cross-discipline research.

Science Questions:

  1. What are the roles of cumulus convection and spatial variations in land cover in depleting low-level water vapor as it is advected into the SGP region?

  2. What are the relationships between cumulus clouds and aerosols and the soil-plant-atmosphere exchange of energy, carbon, and water at the site?

  3. How do soil moisture and land cover changes, such as agricultural harvesting, impact the surface energy, carbon, and water fluxes, and can they impact local and regional cumulus cloud formation at the SGP site?

  4. How do land surface processes at the SGP affect atmospheric aerosol loading and chemistry and what are the resulting effects on the microphysical and macrophysical properties of cumulus cloud fields?

  5. How well do the local measurements of the sensible, latent, and carbon fluxes made at the SGP represent the domain average fluxes?

For list of contributors to this field campaign, refer to the sponsors.


  • Child Campaign


Schmid B, R Ellingson, and G McFarquhar. 2016. "ARM Aircraft Measurements." Meteorological Monographs, 57, 10.1175/AMSMONOGRAPHS-D-15-0042.1.


Schmid B, JM Tomlinson, JM Hubbe, JM Comstock, F Mei, D Chand, MS Pekour, CD Kluzek, E Andrews, SC Biraud, and GM McFarquhar. 2014. "The DOE ARM Aerial Facility." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 95(5), 10.1175/bams-d-13-00040.1.


Roman MO, CK Gatebe, Y Shuai, Z Wang, F Gao, JG Masek, T He, S Liang, and CB Schaaf. 2013. "Use of In Situ and Airborne Multiangle Data to Assess MODIS- and Landsat-Based Estimates of Directional Reflectance and Albedo." IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 51(3), 10.1109/tgrs.2013.2243457.

Mather JH and JW Voyles. 2013. "The ARM Climate Research Facility: A Review of Structure and Capabilities." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 94(3), 10.1175/bams-d-11-00218.1.
Research Highlight

Phillips V. 2013. Mechanisms for Indirect Effects from Aerosol Pollution on Glaciated Clouds. Presented at 4th Atmospheric System Research (ASR) Science Team Meeting. Potomac, MD.

Basara J, LM Tardif-Huber, DX Vanegas, BG Illston, CM Biradar, and WP Kustas. 2013. The Impact of Vegetation Conditions on Land-Atmosphere Interactions during an Anomalously Wet Period. Presented at 93th Annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) Meeting. Austin, TX.


Bozeman ML, D Niyogi, S Gopalakrishnan, FD Marks, XJ Zhang, and V Tallapragada. 2012. "An HWRF-based ensemble assessment of the land surface feedback on the post-landfall intensification of Tropical Storm Fay (2008)." Natural Hazards, 63(3), 10.1007/s11069-011-9841-5.

Portis D, P Lamb, and A Zangvil. 2012. Estimation of a Non-flux Component of Atmospheric Moisture Flux Divergence and Its Relation to SGP CLASIC Clouds and Rainfall. Presented at 3rd Atmospheric System Research (ASR) Science Team Meeting. Arlington, VA.

Charusambot U, D Niyogi, M Miller, and F Chen. 2012. Effect of Land Surface Interactions on Low-level Jet Development and Cloud Convection Processes: a Mesoscale Modeling Study Using the ARM CLASIC 2007 and IHOP 2002 Field Observations. Presented at 3rd Atmospheric System Research (ASR) Science Team Meeting. Arlington, VA.


Roman MO, CK Gatebe, CB Schaaf, R Poudyal, Z Wang, and MD King. 2011. "Variability in surface BRDF at different spatial scales (30 m–500 m) over a mixed agricultural landscape as retrieved from airborne and satellite spectral measurements." Remote Sensing of Environment, 115(9), 10.1016/j.rse.2011.04.012.

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Campaign Data Sets

IOP Participant Data Source Name Final Data
Roni Avissar Helicopter Observation Platform Order Data
Maria Cadeddu Microwave Radiometer Order Data
Patrick Chuang Phase Doppler Interferometer Order Data
Don Collins Cloud Condensation Nuclei Counter Order Data
Don Collins Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer Order Data
John DeVore Sun and Aureole Measurement Order Data
Rose Dominguez MODIS Airborne Simulator Order Data
Albin Gasiewski Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer Order Data
Charles Gatebe Cloud Absorption Radiometer Order Data
Gerald Heymsfield ER-2 Navigation Order Data
Gerald Heymsfield Forward Scattering Spectrometer Probe Order Data
Chris Hostetler HSR Lidar Order Data
Thomas Jackson Flux Data Order Data
Thomas Jackson Land Cover Order Data
Thomas Jackson Passive and Active L-band System Order Data
Thomas Jackson Soil Moisture and Ground Sampling Order Data
Thomas Jackson Soil Type Order Data
Thomas Jackson Vegetation Water Content Order Data
Haflidi Jonsson Passive Cavity Aerosol Spectrometer Order Data
Jimena Lopez CIRPAS Carbon Monoxide Order Data
Sergey Matrosov Cloud and Rainfall Parameter Retrievals Order Data
Matt McGill ER-2 Cloud Lidar Order Data
John Ogren CESSNA Nephelometer Order Data
John Ogren Particle Soot Absorption Photometer - G-1 Aircraft Order Data
Brad Orr Radiosonde Data Order Data
Margaret Torn CESSNA CARBON FLASKS Order Data
Margaret Torn CESSNA CO2 Order Data
Margaret Torn CIRPAS CARBON FLASKS Order Data
Margaret Torn CIRPAS CO2 Order Data
Margaret Torn Radon Order Data
Shaocheng Xie Constrained Variational Objective Analysis Data Order Data