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Department of Energy approves arm site #1--releases environmental assessment

June 16, 1992 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. – The U.S. Department of Energy has given final approval to the first site of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program, a DOE global climate change research project. The U.S. Southern Great Plains Cloud and Radiation Testbed (CART) Site in north-central Oklahoma and south-central Kansas is the first of five planned research facilities the ARM Program will use during the next seven to 10 years.

The ARM Program also has made public the final draft of the environmental assessment for the southern Great Plains facility.

The site will actually be 25-to-30 small, 50-160 acre arrays of weather and climate instruments spread across a 34,000-square-mile rectangle (north-south) between Hillsboro, Kansas, and Purcell, Oklahoma, and (east -west) between Haskell and Vici, Oklahoma, and Neodesha and Haviland, Kansas.

The ARM Program is part of the effort by DOE to resolve scientific uncertainties about so-called greenhouse gases and their impact on global climate. The term radiation in the program's title refers to sunshine and energy radiated back into space.

In addition to the site in the U.S. southern Great Plains, the ARM Program is planning four additional sites around the world, each in a locale of climatological significance. During the next seven to 10 years, the instruments at each site will collect and analyze data that will help determine the effects, primarily of sunlight, radiated energy and clouds,

on temperatures, weather and climate.

Knowledge gained from these measurements will contribute to a better understanding of potential climate changes by improving the computer models that scientists use to predict these changes. The ARM Program will improve our ability to predict how much our climate might change, how fast that change could occur and what the regional effects of that change might be- -information needed by national and world leaders to make important energy and economic policy decisions.

The central facility of the CART Site will be located in Grant County, Oklahoma, approximately five miles northwest of Billings and seven miles southeast of Lamont. Six boundary facilities will be located near the towns of Haviland, Hillsboro and Neodesha, Kansas, and Vici, Purcell and Haskell, Oklahoma.

Although the site is spread across a large area, a total of only 21 acres will be fenced for instruments and associated facilities. Grazing and farming activities will continue around these widely dispersed data collection facilities.

In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, DOE prepared an environmental assessment to evaluate the significance of the potential environmental impacts of the proposed action. Based on the findings of the environmental assessment, DOE has determined that an environmental impact statement is not required and has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).

Copies of the environmental assessment and the FONSI will be available for public inspection in the towns closest to the central facility and six boundary facilities (see attached list for exact locations), and at the University of Oklahoma at Norman.

A copy of the environmental assessment and FONSI may be obtained from Media & External Communications, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, P.O. Box 999 Richland, Washington, 99352, (509) 375-3776. Any questions or comments should be directed to Media & External Communications who will arrange for the proper person within the ARM Program to respond.

DOE expects to begin phasing in operations at the Southern Great Plains Site during spring/summer 192.

Tags: Energy, Environment, Fundamental Science, Operations, Climate Science, Facilities

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