2019-2020 Science Planning Summaries
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2019-2020 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Lower thermospheric science using new meteor radar at McMurdo Station

The McMurdo 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. Robert Moore

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator(s)

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


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: On station


This project will observe the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) between 80 and 120 kilometers 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

Two to three team members will arrive on station in late January and stay for approximately two weeks. They will travel to the radar site to upgrade system software, make a full inspection of the system and grounds, and collect and replace archival data disks. The experiment runs year around. An on-site research associate provides weekly support throughout the year.

Deploying Team Members

  • Ryan Kingsbury
  • John Marino
  • Scott Palo (PI)