ARM Enhanced Shortwave Experiment (ARESE)

25 September 1995 - 1 November 1995

Lead Scientist: Ted Cress

Observatory: sgp, sgp

ARESE studied the absorption of solar radiation by the clear and cloudy atmosphere. Measurements were conducted using three aircraft platforms: a high altitude manned Egrett aircraft, an instrumented Twin Otter and the NASA ER-2, as well as satellites and the ARM central and extended facilities in North Central Oklahoma. The project ran from September 22 - November 1, 1995.

Activity Summary

ARESE, the ARM Enhanced Shortwave Experiment, concluded a very successful deployment to Oklahoma on November 1, 1995. The purpose of this five week long campaign was to conduct a series of instrumented flights to measure the interaction of solar energy with clear and cloudy skies to provide additional insight into recent observations of enhanced absorption in cloudy atmospheres.As such, ARESE focused on two scientific objectives: (1) the direct measurement of the absorption of solar radiation by clear and cloudy atmospheres and the placement of bounds on these measurements; and (2) the investigation of the possible causes of absorption in excess of the model predictions.

To accomplish these objectives, ARESE used a combination of satellite, aircraft, and ground observations to make highly accurate solar flux measurements at different altitudes throughout the atmospheric column. At the heart of this was a carefully "stacked" Twin Otter and Egrett "cloud sandwich" with the Otter at 1500 - 5000 ft and the Egrett at 43,000 ft. This was overflown by an ER-2 flying at 65,000 ft, which because of its much higher speed did not stay in constant alignment with the Twin Otter/Egrett stack but did provide periodic coincidences with these other aircraft. All three aircraft carried identical up- and down-looking "Valero" radiometers and flew over identical up-looking radiometers at the CART central and extended facilities. Radiance measurements from the GOES satellites were used to retrieve top-of-the atmosphere fluxes. These flux measurements were supplemented by a variety of cloud property measurements from the ground, the Egrett and the ER-2, including radar, lidar and multispectral measurements.

These baseline ARESE flights were conducted at the CART site from September 25 through November 1. During that time we flew twelve scientific data flights and accumulated approximately 60 hours of in-flight data under a variety of atmospheric conditions ranging from clear to solid overcast. These flights are detailed in the table below and include: cloud forcing experiments under scattered, broken, and solid overcast conditions including low, mid-, and high-level cloud decks; clear sky column absorption and surface albedo measurements; clear sky flux profiling measurements; and in-flight, co- altitude intercomparisons of flux measurements made from the two aircraft. The data appear to be of excellent quality and comprise a unique data set for testing our understanding of the absorption of solar radiation in both clear and cloudy atmospheres.

In addition to these baseline solar absorption experiments, the ER-2 also performed some key calibration experiments. These used highly accurate spectral radiance measurements from the MODIS Airborne Simulator (MAS) to calibrate radiance measurements from the GOES satellite and to improve retrieval algorithms for converting spectral radiances to spectral fluxes.

The success of this deployment was the result of the tremendous efforts of a multi-laboratory multiagency team comprised of five DOE Laboratories, three NASA Centers, about a dozen universities and three aircraft companies. The ARM Program sponsored the ground-based measurements, ARM-UAV (Unmanned Aerospace Vehicle) the coordinated Egrett and Otter measurements, and ARM and NASA the ER-2 flights. Funding was provided through the DOE's ARM Program and through DoD's Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP).

ARESE Science Flights

Date Platform
Measurement conditions
9-25O, E, ER-2Solid to broken cloud field along NW track
9-29O, E, ER-2 Scattered to broken clouds, lots of turbulence
10-03O, ER-2 Clear sky profiling at 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19 kft;
albedos at central facility
10-11O, E, ER-2Clear sky albedo, column absorption, and inter-
10-13O, ECloudy sky absorption on NW track (alto
stratus and cirrus)
10-17O, E, ER-2Clear sky mission, data inter-comparison on SW
and NW legs
10-19 O, E, ER-2Clear sky albedo, column absorption NW leg
10-24O, EThin cirrus cloud field
10-26 O, E Sold cirrus deck to broken clouds to clear sky
10-28O Clear sky, Otter only experiment at 500 ft above
Charlie Whitlock's radiometers to explore aerosol
heating -- also excellent albedo data
10-30 O, E Thick uniform low to mid-level deck
11-01 O, ESolid to broken cloud field



Yang B, M Wang, G Zhang, Z Guo, A Huang, Y Zhang, and Y Qian. 2021. "Linking Deep and Shallow Convective Mass Fluxes via an Assumed Entrainment Distribution in CAM5‐CLUBB: Parameterization and Simulated Precipitation Variability." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 13(5), e2020MS002357, 10.1029/2020MS002357.


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.


Li Z. 2004. "On the Solar Radiation Budget and Cloud Absorption Anomaly Debate" in Observation, Theory, and Modeling of the Atmospheric Variability, pp. 437-456. World Scientific Publishing Company.

Li Z. 2004. On the solar radiation budget and the cloud absorption anomaly debate. In Observation, Theory and Modeling of Atmospheric Variability. World Scientific Series on Asia-Pacific Weather and Climate: Volume 3, pp. 437-456. Singapore: World Scientific.

Li Z. 2004. On the solar radiation budget and cloud absorption anomaly debate. In Observation, Theory, and Modeling of the Atmospheric Variability, pp. 437-456. Ed. by X. Zhu et al., World Scientific Publishing Co.


roeder L. 2003. New Way of Looking at Clouds Proves Successful for Arctic Conditions Research Highlight. RH-0703.

Ackerman TP, DM Flynn, and RT Marchand. 2003. "Quantifying the magnitude of anomalous solar absorption." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 108(D9), 4273, 10.1029/2002jd002674.

Valero FP, SK Pope, BC Bush, Q Nguyen, D Marsden, RD Cess, AS Simpson-Leitner, A Bucholtz, and PM Udelhofen. 2003. "Absorption of solar radiation by the clear and cloudy atmosphere during the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Enhanced Shortwave Experiments (ARESE) I and II: Observations and models." Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres, 108(D1), 4016, 10.1029/2001jd001384.


Pope SK, FP Valero, WD Collins, and P Minnis. 2002. "Comparison of ScaRaB, GOES 8, aircraft, and surface observations of the absorption of solar radiation by clouds." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 107(D11), 4114, 10.1029/2001jd001139.

View All Related Publications

Campaign Data Sets

IOP Participant Data Source Name Final Data
Francis Schmidlin Ozone Sonde data Order Data
Francisco Valero Ground Radiometers Order Data