2002-2003 Science Planning Summary

Aeronomy & Astrophysics

Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili
Program Manager


NSF/OPP 00-00957
Station: South Pole Station
RPSC POC: Paul Sullivan
Research Site(s): Shack downwind of the station

Dynamics of the Antarctic MLT (mesosphere-lower-thermosphere) region using ground-based radar and TIMED instrumentation
Dr. Susan Avery
University of Colorado

Deploying Team Members: Susan Avery
Research Objectives: This is a propitious time to study a number of atmospheric phenomena, because of the recently-peaked 11-year solar cycle, and NASA's TIMED satellite mission. In addition to measurements derived from instruments on TIMED (Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere-Energetics and Dynamics), this project will install a meteor radar at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Concentrating on the dynamics of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere, this group looks at:

The space-time decomposition of wave motions

Delineation of the spatial climatology over Antarctica with emphasis on the structure of the polar vortex

Dynamical response to energetic events

Inter-annual variability

The proposed meteor radar is a VHF system capable of measuring the spatial structure and temporal evolution of the horizontal wind field over the South Pole. Spatial climatology data will also come from existing ground-based radars at Davis Station, Syowa Station, Rothera Station, and the Amundsen-Scott base.

As NASA's TIMED satellite orbits over the South Pole, wind and temperature data will provide counterpoint and corroborative information. Thus, experiments based both in space and on the ground may be mounted, and data that was previously reliant on a single source can be better validated.

Field Season Overview:
Researchers will operate and collect data from the 46.3 MHz radar installed next to the radar shack a South Pole Station. Project team members and station operations personnel will install shielding in the control shack to reduce interference caused by the radar. Antennas and other components outside the shack will be repaired this season.

Throughout the austral winter, the support contractor's science technician will monitor the equipment, perform routine maintenance and repairs, and send data to the principal investigator.