2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Lower thermospheric science using new meteor radars at McMurdo Station

University of Colorado Boulder's Antarctic Meteor Radar array, overlooking McMurdo Sound. 
Photo by: John Marino
A-284-M Research Location(s): On station


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1543446

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Scott Palo
University of Colorado Boulder
Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences
Boulder, Colorado

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: On station


This project will observe the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) at an altitude between 80 and 120 km above the earth. This is a highly dynamic region that couples the lower terrestrial atmosphere with the upper atmosphere near- earth space environment. Of particular importance in this region are both the upward propagating thermally forced atmospheric tides, global-scale planetary waves, and small-scale gravity waves. All these phenomena transport heat and momentum from the lower atmosphere into the upper atmosphere. The primary goal of this research is to observe, quantify, model, and further understand the spatial-temporal structure and variability of the MLT circulation above Antarctica.

Field Season Overview

Three science team members will arrive on station early in the season and will stay for about two weeks. They will make upgrades to the existing system, including the installation of the new receiver hardware and upgrading the transmit antenna system increasing the transmitting power to 32 kW. The experiment runs year around. A support contractor research associate will provide weekly support throughout the year.

Deploying Team Members

  • John Marino
  • Scott Palo (PI)
  • Bennet Schwab