AMIE Comes to an End on Manus and Gan Islands

Published: 18 April 2012

Data collected from the two island sites during AMIE indicate MJO events occurred every 30-40 days. Each system took about 10 days to build eastward from Gan to Manus. Three MJO events occurred during the campaign, with another system developing as the campaign came to a close.
Scientists present preliminary results; local operations teams critical to success

On March 31, the ARM Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) Investigation Experiment, or AMIE, came to an end, signaling the return of the second ARM Mobile Facility (AMF2) to the United States and a return to routine operations at the ARM site on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

In its first non-U.S. deployment, most of the two dozen baseline AMF2 instruments operated successfully throughout the campaign on Gan Island—part of the Adu Atoll in the Maldives. A few brand-new instruments at both island sites had early failures, and the remote locations made troubleshooting and finding parts for repairs extremely difficult. However, all but the scanning radars were repaired.

“This is a classic example of the difficulty in deploying complex and sophisticated instruments, especially for the first time, in such isolated environments,” said Brad Orr, AMF2 Site Manager from Argonne National Laboratory. “Fortunately, we know that the majority of the data set is very robust. That’s the beauty of building a degree of redundancy into the various measurement platforms.”

During the 6-month campaign, site operations on both Gan and Manus Island included eight-per-day weather balloon launches—every three hours; no easy feat! The overall success rate of sonde launches on Manus landed at 93 percent (without relaunch attempts) and on Gan Island at 98 percent (with relaunches when needed)—an incredible achievement under any circumstances.

Researchers have already begun analyzing the AMIE data set. Led by AMIE principal investigator Chuck Long from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, numerous researchers involved in AMIE and its partner campaign, DYNAMO, presented preliminary data at the Atmospheric System Research Science Team Meeting in March 2012. All the presentations from that meeting will soon be available on the ASR meeting website, and the researchers are planning to hold a workshop in 2013 to review their collective data and research progress.

Special Recognition for Site Operations Teams

The local operations team on Manus gathers for a photo with their certificates of appreciation from ARM site management.
Near the conclusion of the campaign, ARM Manus site operations managers Paul Ortega and Larry Jones from Los Alamos National Laboratory hosted a dinner on Manus to specifically recognize the dedicated PNG team members and AMIE observers who contributed to the highly successful effort on Manus. Each member of the PNG/AMIE team received a certificate of appreciation from Ortega and Jones. They also read a letter of thanks from Long, stressing the importance of their work and the “backbone” measurements provided by the sonde data.

“You have managed a 92% of possible sonde rate up through February 21st. That is a phenomenal accomplishment, one you should be very proud of!” Long wrote.

Mr. Wafir (far left) from the Gan Meteorological Service and local sonde operators on Gan pose for a photo with AMF2 team members after receiving certificates of appreciation.
Similarly, the AMF2 operations team hosted a luncheon to show their appreciation for the local support they received during the campaign. Both the radiosonde launch operators and Maldivian Meteorological Service on Gan were presented with certificates by AMF2 Technical Operations Manager Mike Ritsche from Argonne National Laboratory. He emphasized the critical support they provided throughout the preparation and operational phases of the project, even as civil unrest in February prompted the evacuation of AMF2 technical staff due to safety concerns.

“We could not have done this without your help,” said Ritsche, noting their dedication and dependability. “Your strong commitment to the AMF2 made this entire operation a success and I can’t thank you enough.”

Ritsche also gave a plaque to the Met Service on Gan, and on his way back to the United States, stopped in Male to give a plaque to the Met Service there.

Images from AMIE are available in the ARM Flickr set. AMF2’s next deployment is for the MAGIC field campaign, scheduled to begin in October 2012.