High elevation, mountain-top atmospheric research facilities which are readily accessible under all weather conditions are limited in number world-wide. Examples of mountaintop facilities include Jungfraujoch (Switzerland), Mauna Loa Observatory (Hawaii, USA), Elk Mountain Observatory (Wyoming, USA), Mount Washington Observatory (New Hampshire, USA), Mount Zeppelin (Svalbard, Norway), and Sonnblick (Austria).
Sites which offer the ability to make time-extended observations of free tropospheric and in-cloud conditions which are not obtainable by airborne sampling platforms, provide valuable information with regard to cloud physics, cloud-aerosol chemistry, and related topics (Hallett, 1996).
Remote scientific facilities which are to remain useful must be designed to meet the needs of diverse groups, and evolve over time to meet changing scientific objectives (Currie, 1996).
A permanent research laboratory of this type allows study on a recurrent long-term basis, enabling a greater understanding and characterization of the meteorological processes than is available from temporally limited field projects at unfamiliar locations.