Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility US Department of Energy

Land - Atmosphere Feedback Experiment (LAFE)

1 August 2017 - 31 August 2017

Lead Scientist: Volker Wulfmeyer

Observatory: sgp, sgp

The Land-Atmosphere Feedback Experiment (LAFE) will deploy several state-of-the-art scanning lidar and remote sensing systems to the ARM Climate Research Facility Southern Great Plains Megasite (SGP). These instruments will augment the ARM instrument suite to collect a data set for studying feedback processes between the land surface and the atmosphere. The novel synergy of remote sensing systems will be applied for simultaneous measurements of land-surface fluxes as well as horizontal and vertical transport processes in the atmospheric convective boundary layer (CBL). The impact of spatial inhomogeneities of the soil-vegetation continuum on land surface atmosphere (LSA) feedback will be studied using the scanning capability of the instrumentation. The time period of the observations will be August 2017. The remote sensing system synergy will consist of three components:

  • The SGP water vapor and temperature Raman lidar (SRL), the SGP Doppler lidar (SDL), and the National Center for Atmospheric Research water vapor differential absorption lidar mainly in vertical staring modes to measure mean profiles and gradients of moisture, temperature, and horizontal wind. The SRL and the SDL will also measure profiles of higher-order turbulent moments in the water vapor and wind fields, and profiles of the latent heat flux.
  • A novel scanning lidar system synergy consisting of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration high-resolution Doppler lidar, the University of Hohenheim (UHOH) water vapor differential absorption lidar, and the UHOH temperature rotational Raman lidar. These systems will perform coordinated range-height indicator (RHI) scans from just above the canopy level to the lower troposphere including the interfacial layer of the CBL. The optimal azimuth is to the ENE of the SGP Central Facility, which takes advantage of changes in the surface elevation and different crop types that are planted along that path.
  • The University of Wisconsin SPARC and the University of Oklahoma CLAMPS systems operating two vertically pointing atmospheric emitted radiance interferometers and two Doppler lidar systems scanning cross track to the central RHI for determining the surface friction velocity and the horizontal variability of temperature, moisture, and wind. The variability of surface fluxes as well as CBL dynamics and thermodynamics over the SGP site will be studied for the first time.

The combination of these three components will enable researchers to estimate the divergence of the latent heat profile and the advection of moisture. Thus, the moisture budget in the SGP domain can be studied. The simultaneous measurements of surface and entrainment fluxes, as well as the daily cycle of the CBL thermodynamic state, will provide a unique data set for characterizing LSA interaction in dependence of large-scale and local conditions such as soil moisture and vegetation state. The measurements will also be applied for the development of improved parameterizations of surface fluxes and turbulence in the CBL. The latter is possible because mean profiles, gradients, higher-order moments, and fluxes are measured simultaneously. The results will be used for verifying simulations of LSA feedback in large-eddy simulation and mesoscale models, which are planned for the SGP site. Due to the strong connection between the pre-convective state of the CBL and the formation of clouds and precipitation, this new generation of experiments will strongly contribute to the improvement of their representation in weather, climate, and earth system models.


Robert Banta Michael Hardesty Scott Spuler
Andreas Behrendt Thijs Heus David Turner
W. Alan Brewer Joseph Santanello Tim Wagner
Aditya Choukulkar Christoph Senff Tammy Weckwerth
Wayne Feltz Zbigniew Sorbjan


  • Child Campaign


Pichugina Y, R Banta, E Strobach, B Carroll, W Brewer, D Turner, V Wulfmeyer, E James, T Lee, S Baidar, J Olson, R Newsom, H Bauer, and R Rai. 2024. "Case study of a bore wind-ramp event from lidar measurements and HRRR simulations over ARM Southern Great Plains." Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 16(1), 013303, 10.1063/5.0161905.


Pichugina Y, R Banta, W Brewer, D Turner, V Wulfmeyer, E Strobach, S Baidar, and B Carroll. 2023. "Doppler Lidar Measurements of Wind Variability and LLJ Properties in Central Oklahoma during the August 2017 Land–Atmosphere Feedback Experiment." Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 62(8), 10.1175/JAMC-D-22-0128.1.

Wakefield R, D Turner, T Rosenberger, T Heus, T Wagner, J Santanello, and J Basara. 2023. "A Methodology for Estimating the Energy and Moisture Budget of the Convective Boundary Layer Using Continuous Ground-based Infrared Spectrometer Observations." Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 62(7), 10.1175/JAMC-D-22-0163.1.


Wulfmeyer V, J Pineda, S Otte, M Karlbauer, M Butz, T Lee, and V Rajtschan. 2022. "Estimation of the Surface Fluxes for Heat and Momentum in Unstable Conditions with Machine Learning and Similarity Approaches for the LAFE Data Set." Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 186(2), 10.1007/s10546-022-00761-2.

Wagner T, D Turner, T Heus, and W Blumberg. 2022. "Observing Profiles of Derived Kinematic Field Quantities Using a Network of Profiling Sites." Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 39(3), 10.1175/JTECH-D-21-0061.1.
Research Highlight

Späth F, A Behrendt, W Brewer, D Lange, C Senff, D Turner, T Wagner, and V Wulfmeyer. 2022. "Simultaneous Observations of Surface Layer Profiles of Humidity, Temperature, and Wind using Scanning Lidar Instruments." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 127(5), e2021JD035697, 10.1029/2021JD035697.

Beamesderfer E, C Buechner, C Faiola, M Helbig, Z Sanchez‐Mejia, A Yáñez‐Serrano, Y Zhang, and A Richardson. 2022. "Advancing Cross‐Disciplinary Understanding of Land‐Atmosphere Interactions." Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 127(2), e2021JG006707, 10.1029/2021JG006707.


Lee T, M Buban, and T Meyers. 2021. "Application of Bulk Richardson Parameterizations of Surface Fluxes to Heterogeneous Land Surfaces." Monthly Weather Review, 149(10), 10.1175/MWR-D-21-0047.1.

Wakefield R, D Turner, and J Basara. 2021. "Evaluation of a land-atmosphere coupling metric computed from a ground-based infrared interferometer." Journal of Hydrometeorology, 22(8), 10.1175/JHM-D-20-0303.1.
Research Highlight

Fridlind A, C Chiu, S Collis, J Comstock, S Giangrande, N Hickmon, M Jensen, M Kumjian, P Muradyan, R Newsom, A Sockol, M Sturm, and A Theisen. 2021. ARM Cloud and Precipitation Measurements and Science Group (CPMSG) Workshop Report. Ed. by Robert Stafford, ARM user facility. DOE/SC-ARM-21-005.

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Campaign Data Sets

IOP Participant Data Source Name Final Data
Andreas Behrendt 3-D Scanning Water Vapor Differential Absorption Lidar Order Data
Andreas Behrendt temperature rotational Raman lidar Order Data
Tim Bonin Doppler lidar Turbulent kinetic energy Order Data
Tim Bonin Doppler lidar_Wind Order Data
Steven Brooks FLIR T420 camera on aircraft Order Data
Aditya Choukulkar Scanning Doppler Lidar Order Data
Joachim Ingwersen 3D sonic anemometer Order Data
Temple Lee Micrometeorological Tower Order Data
Temple Lee small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Order Data
Scott Spuler DIAL Lidar Order Data
David Turner Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer_CLAMPS Order Data
David Turner Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer_E32 Order Data
David Turner Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer_E37 Order Data
David Turner Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer_E39 Order Data
Tim Wagner AERI Retrieved Thermodynamic Profiles and Cloud Properties Order Data