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ARM site hits milestone: 25 years providing data from the Great Plains

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June 20, 2017 Share This!

  • The dawn of a new day frames the Raman lidar at the Southern Great Plains site.
    Credit: DOE ARM Facility

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LAMONT, Okla. — Far above the cattle pastures and wheat fields of north-central Oklahoma, weather systems born of different regions — Canada, the Rocky Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico — clash mightily. It's the perfect place to set up sophisticated atmospheric instruments and make their data available to scientists around the world eager to learn more about our planet.

That's just what happened southeast of Lamont, Okla., in 1992, when the Southern Great Plains observatory was established by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program.

Now, 25 years later, the program has evolved into the ARM Climate Research Facility, a U.S. Department of Energy national scientific user facility, which has provided scientists with more than a petabyte of data about critical atmospheric processes — observations that improve scientists' ability to understand the climate.

"We changed the way people do atmospheric science. We set a brand new standard," said Gerry Stokes, now a visiting professor at Stony Brook University in New York, who is widely regarded as the project's visionary.

Learn more about the first 25 years of the SGP facility, the largest climate observatory on the planet, and why some consider the date the first data was produced by SGP — May 16, 1992 — as the 46th day of April.

ARM is operated by nine DOE laboratories, including the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Tags: Environment, Fundamental Science, Climate Science, Atmospheric Science, Aerosols, Meteorology

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