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

Project Title

Oblique sounding of ionized patches in the Antarctic ionosphere - instrument development and testing

RadioICE installed on the southern exposure of Observation Hill. 
Photo by: Alex Chartier
A-100-M/S Research Location(s): Observation Hill, Antenna Field


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Robert Moore

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Elizabeth Kauffman / Paul Sullivan

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Alex T Chartier
Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory
Baltimore, Maryland


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station, South Pole Station
Research Locations: Observation Hill, Antenna Field


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.