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Have profiling microwave radiometer, will travel

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory set to launch million-dollar mobile atmospheric-measuring station on worldwide tour to fill data gaps in global climate models

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January 27, 2005 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. — Balloon-borne sounding system. Check. Micropulse lidar. Check. Infrared thermometer. Check. Eddy correlation flux measurement system. Eddy correlation flux measurement system?! Check already.

These and a dozen other instruments and computer- and maintenance-shop-jammed cargo containers make up the ARM Mobile Facility, or AMF, the world's most sophisticated moveable, atmospheric-measuring suite. In early February, the AMF will be carefully packed and shipped from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where the system was designed, assembled and is being tested, to Point Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco.

There it will be reassembled and take in the local atmosphere, literally, for nine months before heading to sub-Saharan Africa, in time for the 2006 monsoon season in Niger. The instruments are designed to withstand temperatures from minus-40 to plus-120 degrees Fahrenheit, said PNNL's Kevin Widener, AMF chief engineer and supervisor for the testing.

The station is designed to measure the physical properties of literally anything that blows over and the heat that radiates from clouds and from the ground, said Widener, who, with Tom Ackerman, a Battelle fellow at PNNL, designed and put together the $1.4 million system at the behest of the DOE Office of Science.

The AMF is part of DOE's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility, which already includes fixed sites in Oklahoma the North Slope of Alaska and the Tropical Western Pacific region near northeastern Australia. The AMF expands the ARM program's reach into additional climatic regions, providing critical information now missing in models.

Besides PNNL's engineering team, key collaborators in the AMF project include Argonne, Brookhaven and Los Alamos national laboratories. For more information, see http://www.arm.gov/ and http://www.arm.gov/sites/amf.stm.

PNNL LogoPacific Northwest National Laboratory is the nation's premier laboratory for scientific discovery in chemistry, earth sciences, and data analytics and for solutions to the nation's toughest challenges in energy resiliency and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on FacebookInstagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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