The Surface Atmosphere Integrated Field Laboratory (SAIL) Campaign

D. R. Feldman, A. C. Aiken, W. R. Boos, R. W.H. Carroll, V. Chandrasekar, S. Collis, J. M. Creamean, G. de Boer, J. Deems, P. J. DeMott, J. Fan, A. N. Flores, D. Gochis, M. Grover, T. C.J. Hill, A. Hodshire, E. Hulm, C. C. Hume, R. Jackson, F. JunyentA. Kennedy, M. Kumjian, E. J.T. Levin, J. D. Lundquist, J. O’Brien, M. S. Raleigh, J. Reithel, A. Rhoades, K. Rittger, W. Rudisill, Z. Sherman, E. Siirila-Woodburn, S. M. Skiles, J. N. Smith, R. C. Sullivan, A. Theisen, M. Tuftedal, A. C. Varble, A. Wiedlea, S. Wielandt, K. Williams, Z. Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The science of mountainous hydrology spans the atmosphere through the bedrock and inherently crosses physical and disciplinary boundaries: land–atmosphere interactions in complex terrain enhance clouds and precipitation, while watersheds retain and release water over a large range of spatial and temporal scales. Limited observations in complex terrain challenge efforts to improve predictive models of the hydrology in the face of rapid changes. The Upper Colorado River exemplifies these challenges, especially with ongoing mismatches between precipitation, snowpack, and discharge. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility has deployed an observatory to the East River Watershed near Crested Butte, Colorado, between September 2021 and June 2023 to measure the main atmospheric drivers of water resources, including precipitation, clouds, winds, aerosols, radiation, temperature, and humidity. This effort, called the Surface Atmosphere Integrated Field Laboratory (SAIL), is also working in tandem with DOE-sponsored surface and subsurface hydrologists and other federal, state, and local partners. SAIL data can be benchmarks for model development by producing a wide range of observational information on precipitation and its associated processes, including those processes that impact snowpack sublimation and redistribution, aerosol direct radiative effects in the atmosphere and in the snowpack, aerosol impacts on clouds and precipitation, and processes controlling surface fluxes of energy and mass. Preliminary data from SAIL’s first year showcase the rich information content in SAIL’s many datastreams and support testing hypotheses that will ultimately improve scientific understanding and predictability of Upper Colorado River hydrology in 2023 and beyond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2192-E2222
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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