Virtual Tour - Atmospheric Research Observatory

The Atmospheric Research Observatory is maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL). This South Pole station is part of a world-wide campaign to make long-term measurements of the atmospheric concentrations of a variety of compounds, both beneficial and detrimental. There are observing stations at Barrow, Alaska; Mauna Loa, Hawaii; Samoa; and the South Pole.

The Atmospheric Research Observatory.

There is a live camera with a view inside ARO, but it only works when the satellite is above the horizon at the Pole.

Here is some more information about ARO research projects:

University of Illinois Lidars and airglow cameras
They have a sodium resonance lidar to study the vertical structure of the atmosphere from the lower stratosphere to mesopause. They are also looking at the formation of polar stratospheric clouds, which are important in the destruction of ozone chemistry.

They have an iron resonance lidar (to be installed summer 99/00) to study dynamics and temperature structure to 100 km altitude. They study in particular the variability and frequency of the metallic layers in the mesosphere.

Finally, there is an airglow imaging camera (to be installed January 99) to study the horizontal structure of the atmosphere in the infrared.

NASA minilidar
This instrument monitors and profiles the Polar Stratospheric Clouds, particularly type 1, which has been implicated in the annual springtime destruction of the stratospheric ozone. They also monitor the atmosphere over the long term via transmission and back scatter from surfaces.

Aethalometer (TM) from Magee Scientific
The goal of this project is to re-establish the background aerosol emissions and make a direct assesment of the station's emissions (particularly Black Carbon). The aethalometer in ARO measures the background while another aethalometer downwind of the station measure the station's environmental impact due to combustion-related materials. More information on the Aethalometer is on their website; use your "Back" button to come back here.

NOAA CMDL instruments
This instrument suite makes long term monitoring of trace constituents and pollutants in the atmosphere that influence global climate. It also measures the ozone profile in the atmosphere by balloon launches and total ozone "content" from the ground. Some of these measurements are ongoing from 1957. More information on the South Pole Ozone Program is on their website; use your "Back" button to come back here.

This rather cryptically-named project is built by NCAR and is only operating over the summers 99/00 and 00/01. They are studying sulfur chemistry in the atmosphere. More information on their research is available on their website; use your "Back" button to come back here.

The Atmospheric Research Observatory used to be called the Clean Air Facility. Here is a older photos from when this tour was originally written in 1995.

Clean Air A view of the Clean Air Facility.

Go back to the map of the pole.