Future Directions

ARM works with scientific users to continually evolve to enable the next generation of scientific inquiry.

The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility is continually changing in response to evolving science, user needs, and available technology. ARM engages with users through its constituent groups, with Atmospheric System Research (ASR) scientists (especially with the annual Joint ARM User Facility/ASR Principal Investigators Meeting), and the broader community through workshops, conferences, and collaborative activities.

In addition to interactions with the scientific community, the direction of ARM is governed by the strategic direction set by DOE.

A New Vision for ARM

Through community engagement, ARM in 2020 developed a new Decadal Vision document to address increasingly complex science challenges related to the facility’s mission over the next five to 10 years. The updated vision statement is: to provide the research community with the best array of field observations and supporting state-of-the-art data analytics to significantly improve the representation of challenging atmospheric processes in earth system models.

This vision will be sustained by activities organized within the following four themes:


Provide comprehensive and impactful field measurements to support scientific advancement of atmospheric process understanding. ARM strives to deliver the highest level of information possible at its observatories. To maximize its science impact, ARM plans to deploy observatories where the science community most needs them, provide the most comprehensive and useful measurements possible, and expand the spatial footprint of ARM measurements.

Data Analytics

Achieve the maximum scientific impact of ARM measurements through increased engagement with observational data by ARM staff, including the application of advanced data analytical techniques. In addition to exploring new measurement opportunities, ARM is considering how it can extract additional benefit from existing measurements through a focus on data analysis. ARM is looking at fundamental work that needs to be done with ARM data as well as potential applications of advanced data analytics.

Data Services

Enable advanced data analytics and community use of complex ARM data sets through the advancement of computing infrastructure and data analysis. To advance data analysis applications and the usability of ARM data by the science community, it is important to continue to develop ARM computing platforms and tools. ARM plans to expand its computing infrastructure to support growing volume and expanding processing applications, and develop tools and software practices that would facilitate user engagement with ARM data.

Observations to Models

Accelerate and amplify the impact of ARM measurements on earth system models (ESMs) by exploiting ARM and ESM frameworks to facilitate the application of ARM data to ESM development. ARM plans to continue advancing its strategies to help improve models. These strategies include implementing a high-resolution modeling framework to bridge scales and creating direct connections to the modeling community through diagnostics based on ARM data and supporting single-column model cases over ARM sites.

ARM Priorities

Some high-priority activities stemming from the Decadal Vision work and other drivers will be captured on the ARM Priorities page. ARM encourages its users to engage with constituent groups or facility staff on how ARM can continue to meet the evolving needs of the scientific community.