2022-2023 Science Planning Summary
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2022-2023 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Collaborative Research: Fe and Na LiDAR Investigations of Geospace-Atmosphere Temperature, Composition, Chemistry, and Dynamics at McMurdo, Antarctica

This image captures both the LiDAR systems in action, as well as polar cap auroral arcs overhead and the glow of the auroral oval near horizon. Photo by Danny Hampton, Ian Geraghty, and Zimu Li
A-123-M Research Location(s): Arrival Heights


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 2110428

Program Director:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Randolph Jones / Richard Dean

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Xinzhao Chu
University of Colorado Boulder

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Arrival Heights


Researchers on this project operate two narrow-band, multi-frequency Doppler LiDARs at McMurdo Station. These LiDARs can make high-resolution observations of winds and temperatures in the middle and upper atmosphere. Simultaneous observations by the two instruments - a sodium LiDAR and an iron Boltzmann LiDAR - provide unprecedented levels of detail to characterize atmospheric conditions. The instruments have been hosted by Antarctica New Zealand (ANZ) in their Arrival Heights laboratory since late 2010. The observations provide critical data to address key science challenges associated with the space-atmosphere interaction region and, in particular, the sparsely observed high-latitude southern hemisphere.

Field Season Overview

Four participants will deploy to restart the McMurdo LiDAR observations in August 2022. The team will travel daily to the site at Arrival Heights to test and calibrate two LiDARs after the refurbishment and restart of the campaign. The PI will spend 3-4 months to train three students who will be the lead winter-over operators in the next three Antarctic winters (2023, 2024, and 2025). A fifth participant will return to the ice to assist summer observations (after the PI leaves the ice) and help the team to get ready for the winter season. Two participants on the team will stay over winter to conduct the LiDAR observations year round.

Deploying Team Members

  • Yingfei Chen
  • Xinzhao Chu (PI)
  • Ian Geraghty
  • Jack Iribarren
  • Jackson Jandreau