Request Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities

Please see the new NSF Facility and Instrumentation Request Process (FIRP) solicitation which describes the mechanism by which the research community can propose projects that require access to instrumentation and facilities sponsored by the Facilities for Atmospheric Research and Education (FARE) Program in the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS).

Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities (LAOF)

If you are a returning and experienced PI, familiar with the LAOF request process, and looking to access the request system directly, please go to the Project Requests Online system (PRESTO). 

NSF's Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities (LAOF) are available on a competitive basis to all qualified scientists from universities, NCAR, and other U.S. government agencies. Any such scientists who require these facilities and associated services to carry out their research objectives are welcome to submit an NSF proposal requesting the use of the facilities for scientific research. NSF provides guidance on the request process in the FIRP solicitation. All facility deployment is driven by:

  • NSF’s merit review criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts,
  • the capabilities of a specific platform to carry out the proposed observations, and
  • facility scheduling for the requested time
  • additional review criteria as stated in the NSF FIRP solicitation under “Solicitation Specific review criteria.”

The NSF Facilities for Atmospheric Research and Education (FARE) program, within the NCAR & Facilities Section, budgets annually for deployment costs associated with these multi-user facilities. Requests for LAOF are reviewed semi-annually during the Observing Facilities Assessment Panel (OFAP) meeting. The feedback and technical evaluations presented by the LAOF Partner Organizations and OFAP Members are considered before NSF makes a final funding decision.

The FARE Program Director determines into which category a request falls. Therefore, the Principal Investigators (PI) must discuss all proposed field activities with the FARE Program Director and Program Officers of the science program to which they are applying.

Category Requestable Facility
Research Aircraft

NSF/NCAR Aircraft

LAOF Partner Organization Aircraft

Airborne Instrumentation

LAOF Partner Organization Aircraft

Ground-based Systems

FARE/LAOF Facility Request Manager

Alison Rockwell