Overview of ARM ground-based aerosol and trace-gas measurement capabilities



Uin, Janek — Brookhaven National Laboratory

Area of research:

Aerosol Properties

Journal Reference:

Uin J, A Aiken, M Dubey, C Kuang, M Pekour, C Salwen, A Sedlacek, G Senum, S Smith, J Wang, T Watson, and S Springston. 2019. "Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Aerosol Observing Systems (AOS) for Surface-Based In-Situ Atmospheric Aerosol and Trace Gas Measurements." Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 36(12), 10.1175/JTECH-D-19-0077.1.


This is an overview paper detailing the history and capabilities of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility's Aerosol Observing Systems (AOS).


This paper intends to provide ARM AOS data users a comprehensive reference of the AOS infrastructure and instrument complement.


Aerosols alter Earth’s radiative budget both directly and indirectly through interaction with clouds. Continuous observations are required to reduce the uncertainties in climate models associated with atmospheric processing and the interactions between aerosols and clouds. Field observations of aerosols are a central component of the ARM facility’s global measurements. The ARM mission goal is to “provide the climate research community with strategically located in situ and remote-sensing observatories designed to improve the understanding and representation, in climate and earth system models, of clouds and aerosols as well as their interactions and coupling with the Earth’s surface.” Since 1996, ARM has met this goal by operating Aerosol Observing Systems (AOS) for in situ measurement of aerosols. Currently the five ARM AOS are the most comprehensive field-deployable aerosol systems in the United States. The AOS suite includes seven measurement classes: number concentration, size distribution, chemical composition, radiative and optical properties, hygroscopicity, trace gases, and supporting meteorological conditions. AOS are designed as standardized measurement platforms to enable intercomparison across the ARM user facility for regional process studies within a global context. The instrumentation and measurement capabilities of the ARM AOS, along with a history of their design and field deployments, are presented in this published paper.