First Calibration Training at CAMS

Scientists from the Center for Aerosol Measurement Science hosted a successful first training for the calibration and maintenance of aerosol instruments

Olga Mayol-Bracero and Janek Uin enlarge

Olga Mayol-Bracero (left), lead aerosol observing system (AOS) instrument mentor and director of the Center for Aerosol Measurement Science (CAMS), in the main CAMS lab at Brookhaven National Laboratory with Janek Uin (right), an AOS instrument mentor. This space was used for the Center's first calibration training, which prepared four technicians for a new deployment of equipment from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement user facility. (David Rahner/Brookhaven National Laboratory)

Scientists from the Center for Aerosol Measurement Science (CAMS) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory hosted the center’s first calibration activities on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Over the two days, technicians from DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory trained to calibrate and maintain instruments that are deployed around the world to study aerosols — small solid or liquid particles suspended in Earth’s atmosphere.

CAMS is a recently established center at Brookhaven National Laboratory dedicated to calibrating instruments that characterize these microscopic aerosol particles. The recent training, which was the first held at CAMS, prepared the four technicians to serve as site operators of a new deployment of equipment from DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility.

The upcoming deployment, known as the Cloud And Precipitation Experiment at kennaook (CAPE-k), will build upon existing infrastructure at Kennaook/Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station on the northwestern tip of Tasmania, Australia. Instead of a full aerosol observing system (AOS), ARM will deploy three instruments that are typically part of the AOS from April 2024 through September 2025. These instruments will contribute to a suite of ground-based sensors that make cloud and precipitation observations.

“Trainings like this one are just one facet of CAMS’ effort to improve calibration processes for AOS instruments,” said Olga Mayol-Bracero, lead AOS instrument mentor and director of CAMS. Mayol-Bracero and other AOS instrument mentors from the Aerosol Observations Group of the Environmental & Climate Sciences Department at Brookhaven Lab organized and ran the calibration training.

“By training ARM technicians to fully understand the AOS instruments and infrastructure, we are better preparing them to support scientists using the AOS,” she added. “This will ultimately result in more efficient troubleshooting, less downtime for the instruments, and better measurements overall.”

At the end of the training sessions, the mentors and technicians gathered to reflect on the productivity and efficacy of their experience at CAMS.

“This training provided close contact between the mentors and technicians that will help facilitate the upcoming remote work,” said Juarez Viegas, an ARM operations manager who is based at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “As a future site operator, I now feel more comfortable and confident in ‘getting my hands dirty’ to work on the AOS instruments.”

“I learned more in two days at CAMS than I have in a whole year,” added Frank Zurek, another technician who attended the training.

The AOS mentors from Brookhaven Lab plan to hold at least three more training sessions in 2024. Operators of other ARM sites — including at the Southern Great Plains observatory in Oklahoma, a new observatory in Alabama’s Bankhead National Forest, and the upcoming Coast-Urban-Rural Atmospheric Gradient Experiment (CoURAGE) in Maryland — will visit CAMS for similar training on the equipment essential for aerosol research.

“These training activities really show the value of CAMS,” said Mayol-Bracero. “It is not only a world-class calibration center, but also a hub for aerosol instrumentation trainings.”

Renovation of the CAMS laboratory space was provided by Brookhaven National Laboratory’s institutional infrastructure funds. Funding of CAMS operations are provided by DOE’s Office of Science as part of the ARM user facility.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit

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