A new article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society draws on a wealth of data from a recent Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility field campaign to demonstrate how land use and soil properties influence temperature and humidity with unexpected strength.

ARM conducted the Holistic Interactions of Shallow Clouds, Aerosols and Land Ecosystems (HI-SCALE) field campaign around its Southern Great Plains (SGP) atmospheric observatory in Oklahoma during the spring and summer of 2016. HI-SCALE was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric System Research program and supported by the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, like ARM a DOE Office of Science user facility.

HI-SCALE’s immediate objective was retrieving new measurements to better understand and model shallow convective clouds and their relationships with land-atmosphere interactions, boundary-layer turbulence, and the life cycle of aerosols. The longer-term goal is improving the accuracy of shallow cloud parameterizations that drive modeling predictions of the onset of deep convection and precipitation.

ARM users from DOE national laboratories, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and American and European universities combined their expertise to come to grips with the life cycle of shallow convection at the SGP. The area is a known hotspot of land-atmosphere interactions where coupling between surface processes and precipitation is especially strong.

Jerome Fast of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, was HI-SCALE’s principal investigator and lead author of the paper. The research team deployed airborne and ground instruments during two four-week Intensive operational periods to reap coincident measurements of meteorological, cloud, and aerosol properties.

Ongoing data analysis is sure to reveal more important insights about land-atmosphere relationships, so stay tuned for more from HI-SCALE.

HI-SCALE studied primary physical processes that influence the evolution of shallow convective clouds.
HI-SCALE studied primary physical processes that influence the evolution of shallow convective clouds.

# # #

This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research as part of the Atmospheric System Research Program.