2019-2020 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 an altitude of ~300-kilometers, 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, as well as observations of ionospheric electric field behavior from existing ionospheric radars.
Field Season Overview
For the upcoming field season, the HF transmitter installed last year on Observation Hill and the receiver installed in Crary Lab at McMurdo Station will be retrograded. Similarly, the HF receiver in the V8 Vault at South Pole Station will be retrograded.