The hydrologic cycle of the Amazon Basin is one of the primary heat engines of the Southern Hemisphere. Any accurate climate model must succeed in a good description of the Basin, both in its natural state and in states perturbed by regional and global human activities. At the present time, however, tropical deep convection in a natural state is poorly understood and modeled, with insufficient observational data sets for model constraint. Furthermore, future climate scenarios resulting from human activities globally show the possible drying and the eventual possible conversion of rain forest to savanna in response to global climate change. Based on our current state of knowledge, the governing conditions of this catastrophic change are not defined. Human activities locally, including the economic development activities that are growing the population and the industry within the Basin, also have the potential to shift regional climate, most immediately by an increment in aerosol number and mass concentrations, and the shift is across the range of values to which cloud properties are most sensitive. The ARM Climate Research Facility in the Amazon Basin seeks to understand aerosol and cloud life cycles, particularly the susceptibility to cloud aerosol precipitation interactions, within the Amazon Basin.