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

Project Title

Collaborative Research: The Simpson Neutron Monitor Network

Collaborative Research: The Simpson Neutron Monitor Network
A-118-S Research Location(s): B2 Laboratory, Near Field


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. David Porter

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Paul Sullivan / Sheryl Seagraves

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Surujhdeo Seunarine
University of Wisconsin River Falls
Department of Physics
River Falls, Wisconsin


Supporting Stations: South Pole Station
Research Locations: B2 Laboratory, Near Field


This project operates a neutron-monitor suite at South Pole Station. The science thrust of the project is an understanding of solar energetic particles using neutron monitor data, complemented with data from the nearby IceTop air shower detector. Another focus involves understanding the nature of multiple coincident particles observed in the neutron monitors, which extend the reach of the South Pole neutron monitor as a single station capable of doing cosmic ray spectral studies. Also central to the research is understanding the response of these detectors to the radiation environment of the South Pole, particularly in determining the cause of the decline in cosmic ray intensity at the South Pole over the last 50 years. Understanding this decline is important because cosmic rays produce radionuclides such as Beryllium-10 that become trapped in the ice and are used to determine ice-core ages and precipitation levels over Earth's polar regions. An understanding of the production rate is vital to interpreting these data.

Field Season Overview

The instrumentation for this project is located in the B2 Lab and near the V8 vault. It runs continuously year-round, essentially autonomously, with only limited intervention required by personnel onsite and by the science team via the internet. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no participants will deploy to service the equipment this season, and the scheduled decommissioning and removal of the equipment has been deferred for a year. Onsite Research Associates will provide monitoring, troubleshooting, and the collection and forwarding of data as needed.