ARM Mobile Facility Experiment in Azores Begins


A 20-month field campaign began May 1 on Graciosa Island in the Azores to study the seasonal life cycle of marine clouds and how they modulate the global climate system.  Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility, researchers are using the ARM Mobile Facility (AMF) to obtain data for the study entitled Clouds, Aerosol, and Precipitation in the Marine Boundary Layer. Marine boundary-layer clouds are found over open oceans and in coastal environments around the world and play a major role in the global climate system.  For accurate predictions of future climate, scientists need a better understanding of the dynamic elements that control the life cycle of these cloud types.  Detailed observations are critical to improved representations of these clouds in the climate models, but currently these data are lacking. Graciosa is one of the few locations where these clouds may be conveniently observed.  A new long-term record of clouds and the processes controlling them will, in the short term, allow scientists to test the skill of existing climate models. Ultimately, the information will lead to model improvement that will increase confidence in climate change predictions.