2020-2021 Science Planning Summaries
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2020-2021 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Antarctic SuperDARN research, operations and system enhancements

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A-369-M/S Research Location(s): Arrival Heights / Antenna Field


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. William Bristow
Pennsylvania State University
Fairbanks, Alaska

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station, South Pole Station
Research Locations: Arrival Heights / Antenna Field


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 the geomagnetic conjugacy of global magnetic storms and substorms, and the differences in 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 they enhance the usefulness of data from other instruments.

Field Season Overview

The instrumentation for this project consists of receivers and transmitters located at the Arrival Heights Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) adjacent to McMurdo Station and in the quiet sector adjacent to South Pole Station. The equipment runs continuously year-round, essentially autonomously, with only limited intervention required by personnel onsite and by the researchers via the internet. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no participants will deploy to service the equipment this season. Onsite Research Associates will provide monitoring, troubleshooting, and the collection and forwarding of data at each site as needed throughout the year.