Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility US Department of Energy

ARM West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE)

23 November 2015 - 5 January 2017

Lead Scientist: Dan Lubin

Site: AMF

West Antarctica is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth, and this warming is closely connected with global sea level rise. The documented changes on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) have challenged previous explanations of Antarctic climate change that focused on strengthening of circumpolar westerlies in response to the positive polarity trend in the Southern Annular Mode. West Antarctic warming does not yet have a comprehensive explanation. Dynamical mechanisms may vary from one season to the next, and they very likely involve complex teleconnections with subtropical and tropical latitudes.

The prime motivation for the ARM West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) was that there had been no substantial atmospheric science or climatological field work on the WAIS since work that started during the 1957 International Geophysical Year lasted for a few years. A few automatic weather stations provided direct meteorological information on the WAIS for several decades. And yet, satellite imagery and meteorological reanalyses indicate that West Antarctica is highly susceptible to advection of warm and moist maritime air, with related cloud cover, depending on the location and strength of low-pressure cells in the Amundsen, Ross, and Bellingshausen seas. There is a need to quantify the role of these changing air masses on the surface energy balance, including all surface energy components and cloud radiative forcing. More generally, global climate model simulations are known to perform poorly over the Antarctic and Southern oceans, and the marked scarcity of cloud information at southern high latitudes has so far inhibited significant progress.

Beginning in late November 2015, a set of ARM Climate Research Facility equipment, including basic radiometric, surface energy balance, and upper air instrumentation, was deployed to the WAIS to make the first well-calibrated climatological suite of measurements seen in this extremely remote but globally critical region in more than 40 years.

McMurdo Station, where the ARM Facility's most advanced cloud and aerosol instrumentation can be situated, has a meteorological relationship with the WAIS via circulation patterns in the Ross and Amundsen seas. From McMurdo, the second ARM Mobile Facility (AMF2) gathered sophisticated data with cloud radars, high-spectral-resolution lidar, and a complete aerosol suite with relevance to the WAIS as well. AMF2 was deployed at McMurdo Station from January 2016 to January 2017 for a data set that covered 14 months in total from the two locations. The U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program, collaborated on AWARE.


David Bromwich
Lynn Russell
Johannes Verlinde
Andrew Vogelmann

Related Publications


Lubin D, J Verlinde, DH Bromwich, AM Vogelmann, and LM Russell. 2015. ARM West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) Science Plan. Ed. by Robert Stafford, DOE ARM Climate Research Facility. DOE/SC-ARM-15-040.

View All Related Publications

Campaign Data Sets

IOP Participant Data Source Name Final Data
Stephen Springston Mentor Processed Particle Soot Absorption Photometer (PSAP) Data Order Data
Stephen Springston Mentor Processed Trace Gas Data Order Data

AWR Data Sources

Name Full Name Browse Data
AERI Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer Browse Data
AERINF AERI Noise Filtered Browse Data
AOS Aerosol Observing System Browse Data
AOSMET Meteorological Measurements associated with the Aerosol Observing System Browse Data
CCN Cloud Condensation Nuclei Particle Counter Browse Data
CEIL Ceilometer Browse Data
CPC Condensation Particle Counter Browse Data
CSPHOT Cimel Sunphotometer Browse Data
ECMWFDIAG European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts Diagnostic Analyses Browse Data
ECOR Eddy Correlation Flux Measurement System Browse Data
GNDRAD Ground Radiometers on Stand for Upwelling Radiation Browse Data
GVRP G-band (183 GHz) Vapor Radiometer Profiler Browse Data
HSRL High Spectral Resolution Lidar Browse Data
HTDMA Humidified Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer Browse Data
INTERPSONDE Interpolated Sonde Browse Data
IRT Infrared Thermometer Browse Data
KASACR Ka-Band Scanning ARM Cloud Radar Browse Data
KAZR Ka ARM Zenith Radar Browse Data
LDIS Laser Disdrometer Browse Data
MET Surface Meteorological Instrumentation Browse Data
MFR Multifilter Radiometer Browse Data
MFRSR Multifilter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer Browse Data
MPL Micropulse Lidar Browse Data
MPLCMASK Cloud mask from Micropulse Lidar Browse Data
MWACR Marine W-Band (95 GHz) ARM Cloud Radar Browse Data
MWR Microwave Radiometer Browse Data
NEPHELOMETER Nephelometer Browse Data
OZONE Ozone Monitor Browse Data
PBLHT Planetary Boundary Layer Height Browse Data
PSAP Particle Soot Absorption Photometer Browse Data
RWP Radar Wind Profiler Browse Data
SEBS Surface Energy Balance System Browse Data
SKYRAD Sky Radiometers on Stand for Downwelling Radiation Browse Data
SONDE Balloon-Borne Sounding System Browse Data
SONDEGRID Gridded Sonde VAP Product Browse Data
TSI Total Sky Imager Browse Data
XSACR X-Band Scanning ARM Cloud Radar Browse Data