2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2017-2018 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:
Neal Scheibe / Elizabeth Kauffman / Paul Sullivan

Principal Investigator

Dr. William Bristow

University of Alaska Fairbanks
Geophysical Institute
Fairbanks, Alaska

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station, South Pole Station
Research Locations: Building 72


The Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) is a global international radar network of 32 installations observing high-frequency (HF) bands between eight and 22 MHz. These systems 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 can observe global-scale convection with excellent temporal and spatial resolution, which makes it a powerful tool for ground-based research, enabling scientists to address fundamental and important questions of space physics. The data it acquires are also relevant to space-weather studies and enhances 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. In addition, the team will install an ionosonde at a yet-to-be-determined location on the station. The installation will require the erection of the antennas and installation of the electronic components.

Deploying Team Members

  • William Bristow (PI)
  • Andrew Kiene