2015-2016 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2015-2016 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Antarctic and Conjugate Research using SuperDARN

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Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1443504

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Elizabeth Kauffman / Paul Sullivan

Principal Investigator

Dr. William Bristow

University of Alaska Fairbanks
Geophysical Institute
Fairbanks, Alaska

Project Web Site:
http://superdarn.gi.alaska.edu External Web Site


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station, South Pole Station
Research Locations: Near stations


The Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) is a global international radar network of 22 installations observing high-frequency (HF) bands between eight and 22 MHz. Radar systems have been installed at McMurdo Station (2009-10) and South Pole Station (2011-12), extending the global-scale coverage in the Southern Hemisphere. These systems also help answer questions about geomagnetic conjugacy of global magnetic storms and substorms and differences in the ionospheric plasma convection caused by the asymmetry of solar illumination in both hemispheres. The SuperDARN network, with its ability to observe global-scale convection with excellent temporal and spatial resolution, has proven to be the most powerful tool available for the ground-based research. These qualities allow scientists to address the most fundamental and important questions of space physics. The data are also relevant to important societal issues such as space-weather studies, and they enhance the usefulness of data from other instruments.

Field Season Overview

Each austral summer researchers deploy to McMurdo and South Pole Stations to perform system maintenance such as inspecting the equipment, tightening guy wires and antennas, replacing shackles, re-leveling the radar poles, and updating/repairing the on-site computer system. Throughout the year, contractor staff maintain system components and vehicular access to the array.

Deploying Team Members

  • Jonathan Klein
  • Jeff Spaleta

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Office of Polar Programs