Environmental Science Division (EVS) a Division of Argonne National Laboratory

Southern Great Plains (SGP) Site

Data collected at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) climate observation site are used by scientists worldwide to improve the representation of clouds and radiation in models used for climate research.

In 1990, EVS scientists began to design and develop the Southern Great Plains (SGP) climate observation site for DOE's ARM Program. EVS has managed operations at the SGP site since the first instruments were deployed in the spring of 1992. Scientists worldwide use the information obtained at the SGP site to improve the representation of clouds and radiation in the atmospheric general circulation models used for climate research.

The SGP site was chosen as the first ARM field measurement site because of its relatively homogeneous geography and easy accessibility, the region's wide variability of cloud types and surface flux properties, and large seasonal variations in temperature and specific humidity. The area also had a large, existing network of weather and climate research and instrumentation. The SGP site is the world's largest and most extensive climate research field site.

The guest instrument trailer at the SGP site in July 2003.
The guest instrument trailer at the SGP site in July 2003.

The SGP site instruments are arrayed across approximately 55,000 square miles in north-central Oklahoma. The heart of the SGP site is the heavily instrumented central facility located on 160 acres of pasture and fields southeast of Lamont, Oklahoma. A staff of 30 scientists and technicians collect and monitor data from the central facility instruments and from other facilities throughout the SGP site.

The 60-ft meteorological tower rises from a canola field at the SGP central facility in June 2011.
The 60-ft meteorological tower rises from a canola field at the SGP central facility in June 2011.

The continuous observations at the SGP site are supplemented by intensive observation periods (campaigns), when the frequency of measurements is increased and special measurements are added to address specific research questions. During such periods, two billion bytes or more of data can be generated daily.

The ARM Program is an effort of the DOE Office of Science. The SGP data are available through the ARM Data Archive. The SGP site is a component of a national user facility of the DOE Office of Science, the ARM Climate Research Facility.

photo of Douglas Sisterson
Meteorologist/Team Lead
Capabilities: Management of world-class research facilities housing ground-based remote sensors that provide continuous, near real-time, quality-assured measurements of atmospheric processes that drive Earth’s climate and weather systems.