2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Oblique sounding of ionized patches in the Antarctic ionosphere - instrument development and testing
Dr. Alex T Chartier
Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station, South Pole Station
Ionospheric regions/structures associated with ionized patches are known to disrupt radio signals at high latitudes, which can impact search-and-rescue operations and other radio communications. Recent statistical studies showed a strong annual trend for ionized patches at ~300-km altitude, which appears to peak in the same months in the Arctic and Antarctic. This contrasts with established theories that predict seasonal trends, with patch occurrence peaks during each hemisphere’s winter. Researchers on this project hope to confirm the Antarctic patch occurrence rates using independent sounding observations, along with observations of the ionospheric electric field behavior from existing ionospheric radars.
Field Season Overview
The ionosonde's transmitter will be installed on Observation Hill at McMurdo Station and will send radio pulses toward South Pole, where the receiver will collect data from this oblique sounding of ionized patches, following their formation, propagation, and dynamics. The 12-month-long period of testing this instrument in Antarctica will also allow scientists to collect enough experimental data to potentially deploy an array of transmitters at remote Antarctic locations, while the oblique sounding signals will be received and processed at the ionosonde's hub receiver at South Pole.
Deploying Team Members