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

BER Research Highlights

Studying Clouds Over India’s Ganges Valley
Published: June 10, 2011
Posted: June 22, 2011

ARM Mobile Facility instrumentation is installed in June 2011 at the ARIES Observatory in Nainital, India, for the Ganges Valley Aerosol Experiment (GVAX).
ARM Mobile Facility instrumentation is installed in June 2011 at the ARIES Observatory in Nainital, India, for the Ganges Valley Aerosol Experiment (GVAX). Shown in this photo are the stack for the aerosol observing system (top) and the optics portal for the atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer.

DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility is a multi-platform national scientific user facility that supports research for addressing the major uncertainties of climate models—clouds and aerosols—with heavily instrumented fixed research sites in Oklahoma, Alaska, and the tropical Western Pacific. It also provides mobile and aerial measurement platforms to support research at key sites around the world. This week, through an intergovernmental agreement with India, an ARM mobile facility began operating at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) in India for the Ganges Valley Aerosol Experiment (or GVAX). Measurements obtained during the nine-month field study will enable scientists to study how aerosols—small particles like dust and soot—in the air affect the formation of clouds and whether they increase or decrease the amount of precipitation that falls from them. Their findings will be used to improve computer models that simulate Earth’s climate system. Some studies suggest that haze over the Ganges Valley region will increase temperature and pressure, which could draw moisture from the ocean and intensify seasonal monsoons. Other studies indicate the increased heat will cause clouds to dry up. To refine these possibilities, data are needed that span both the summer and winter monsoon seasons. This is the first large-scale field study that the United States or any other country has conducted in India that is related to environmental and climate issues. This collaborative experiment, in addition to DOE and the Indian government, involves NOAA, NSF, and the Navy.


Contact: Wanda Ferrell, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0043
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

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