2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Oblique sounding of ionized patches in the Antarctic ionosphere - instrument development and testing
Dr. Alex T Chartier
Johns Hopkins University
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 science team will develop a low-powered, autonomous ionosonde that will allow oblique sounding measurements of the Antarctic ionosphere between McMurdo and South Pole Stations. In the 2017-18 season, one participant will deploy in February to conduct a site visit to both McMurdo and South Pole Station to select the best options for installing the equipment the following season.
Deploying Team Members