Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica
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.
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.
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.
A view of the Clean Air
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CARA's research and education programs are supported in
part by the National Science Foundation under a cooperative
agreement, grant number NSF OPP 89-20223.
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Last modified Friday, 10-Sep-1999 13:30:17 CDT