AMOF: An internationally leading facility for atmospheric measurements and observatories in the UK

Jacqui Hamilton, Chris Westbrook, Doug Parker, Eiko Nemitz, Jeremy Price, Jonathan Crosier, Rebecca Fisher, Tom Bell, Maria Val Martin, Geraint Vaughan, Barbara Brooks, Martin Gallagher, David Birch, Grant Forster, Keith Bower, Matteo Carpentieri, Kevin Wyche, Katherine Manfred, Ruth Doherty, Chiara GiorioKirsti Ashworth

Research output: Other contribution


To address some of humanity's greatest global challenges, such as climate change, extreme weather events and poor air quality, the atmospheric science community requires access to state of the art instrumentation, observations and expertise.

The Atmospheric Measurement and Observation Facility (AMOF) is an existing NERC facility that enables research across a wide range of disciplines, addressing problems in atmospheric dynamics and convection, surface exchange, cloud and aerosol microphysics, atmospheric composition, air quality and greenhouse gases. Our community vision for the next decade is an AMOF that can provide world leading, high quality field observations to improve the representation of complex atmospheric processes, supporting the development of evidence based mitigations.

AMOF was launched in 2020 and was a merger between the Atmospheric Measurement Facility (AMF) and the NERC Facility for Atmospheric Radar Research (NFARR).

AMOF provides
- Instruments to measure atmospheric physical and chemical properties during field experiments and from mobile platforms, remote sensing and surface meteorology, and access to user-configurable instrumentation. (Over 40 instruments, estimated capital value ~ £20 M)
- Logistical support, bespoke training and expert instrument scientists to deploy and operate complex instrumentation in the field
- Access to observatories (UK: BT Tower, Chilbolton, Weybourne, Capel Dewi. International: Cape Verde, Iceland) and globally unique laboratory facilities (EnFLo wind tunnel).
- Nationally accessible calibration facilities to underpin atmospheric measurements and drive best practice and standards

Staff required: research scientists (6.31 FTE), operational staff (1.5 FTE) and technical support (2 FTE)

To maintain a forward-looking facility, we propose that the community plays a stronger role in determining AMOF’s direction. Existing user groups will be supplemented with research area specific working groups. The current steering group is made up from members of the research community and an independent chair from outside the UK. We expect the facility to commit to making this group as diverse as possible in terms of career stage, institution and protected characteristics. The steering group currently has limited scope and we propose this group has increased decision making capabilities in terms of allocation of staff time, financial resources and termination of activities that are no longer productive.

Through our community engagement, a number of common innovative technologies were proposed including calibration facilities (aerosol, bioaerosol, GHG), unmanned aerial vehicles, low cost sensors, investment in data analysis and software. Rather than request funds for specific instruments/observatories at this stage, as a community we propose that NERC should introduce an AMOF innovation capital fund, managed by the steering group in a transparent manner. This should support emerging technologies and associated resources to provide trained operators. We expect this fund to be open to the breadth of atmospheric science and proposals must have evidence of substantial community support.

Innovation is the key to maintaining the UK’s international leadership in atmospheric science research and growing our extensive collaborative network internationally. AMOF will allow the community to tackle these urgent challenges in a flexible and innovative way and enable the UK to maintain its world leading status.
Original languageEnglish
TypeCommunity Statement to NERC
Media of outputWeb
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • atmospheric science
  • air quality
  • Weather
  • climate
  • measurements


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