U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Examining a Decade of ARM Research in the Topical Western Pacific
Published: November 14, 2012
Posted: February 26, 2013

Department of Energy researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory led a team to investigate the scientific utility of atmospheric data collected by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) scientific user facility over a decade of observations in the equatorial tropical western Pacific (TWP), an important climatic region. Strong solar heating, warm sea surface temperatures, and the annual progression of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) across this region generate abundant convective systems that have a profound impact on global climate and precipitation. To accurately evaluate tropical cloud systems in models, measurements are needed of tropical clouds, the environment in which they reside, and their impact on the radiation and water budgets. Because of the remote location, ground-based datasets of cloud, atmosphere, and radiation properties from the TWP region traditionally came primarily from short-term field experiments. However, these short-term datasets provided only limited statistical and climatological information. To provide long-term measurements of the surface radiation budget in the tropics and the atmospheric and cloud properties that affect it, ARM established the TWP measurement sites in 1996. This analysis gives examples of the wide range of scientific use of these unique long-term datasets, including characterization of cloud properties, analysis of cloud radiative forcing, model studies of tropical clouds and processes, and validation of satellite algorithms. The impact of recently installed instrumentation on new opportunities for tropical atmospheric science is also discussed. The study highlights contributions of ARM TWP data to increased knowledge of tropical cloud systems and the tropical surface radiation budget.

Reference: Long, C. N., S. A. McFarlane, A. Del Genio, P. Minnis, J. Mather, J. Comstock, J. Mace, M. Jensen, C. Jakob, and T. P. Ackerman. 2012. "ARM Research in the Equatorial Western Pacific: A Decade and Counting," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00137. (Reference link)

Contact: Wanda Ferrell, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0043, Sally McFarlane, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0943, Ashley Williamson, SC-23.1, (301) 903-3120
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research
  • Facility: DOE ARM User Facility

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)