Future Directions

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

October 2020 update: The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility produced a Decadal Vision document in 2014 that outlined its strategy for the next 5–10 years. Since then, ARM has made progress to implement the Large-Eddy Simulation (LASSO) ARM Symbiotic Simulation and Observation (LASSO) workflow and constituent groups, among other activities. A new vision is being developed around measurements, data analytics, data services, and observations to models. This page will be updated after ARM’s newest Decadal Vision is finalized in early 2021. To learn about the updated Decadal Vision and to access the latest draft version of the document, read this ARM article.

ARM is continually changing in response to evolving science, user needs, and available technology. Learn more about engaging with ARM and its future priorities.

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

The following activities were planned as part of the 2014 ARM Decadal Vision:

Creating the Next-Generation ARM

To create a powerful new capability for furthering its mission, ARM is undergoing a reconfiguration that is providing even more complete data sets to support process studies and model development.

The goals established in its Decadal Vision were informed by the scientific user community through numerous workshops, with an emphasis on input from the past five years.

Developing New Observation-Modeling-Analysis Framework

Changes at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) atmospheric observatory near Lamont, Oklahoma, will provide additional spatial sampling of atmospheric and surface information to support a new ARM capability—the routine operation of high-resolution process models. The result will be even more comprehensive scientific data and the processes and tools for scientists to more easily use the data for climate model development. Enhancements at the ARM Data Center will enable both the routine model simulations and analysis of the resulting data sets.

With substantial measurement capabilities, the SGP is already the world’s largest and most extensive climate research field site. The newly reconfigured site in combination with the high-resolution model simulations will better address next-generation science questions about the complex interactions among atmospheric circulations, thermodynamics, aerosols, clouds, and the land surface.

While this type of observation-model integration is not new at ARM sites, the application of this observation-model synergy on a routine basis will better exploit the long-term nature of ARM observations.

Advancing Unmanned Aerial Systems

The North Slope of Alaska atmospheric observatory is being enhanced through aerial measurements including routine missions using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and tethered balloon systems (TBS) for scientific research.

These routine measurements will provide valuable information about spatial variability and vertical structure. It is anticipated that UAS will provide valuable information about thermodynamic structure as well as aerosol and cloud properties. While the initial efforts have been at the North Slope, it is anticipated that other sites will benefit from these capabilities and already the Southern Great Plains has seen some UAS activity through the work of guest investigators.