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Swedish radar facility on Europe's wish list

When European countries get together to prioritize what infrastructures are needed for future research, the Swedish radar facility EISCAT will be on the table among 7 new projects.

On December 9, the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures, ESFRI, published its updated roadmap to what infrastructure investments are deemed to be of the greatest importance in coming years. The list comprises 44 projects, and the recommendations cover all fields of research.

EISCAT operates three radar stations in northern Scandinavia and one in Longyearbyen on Svalbard. These radar facilities are used for studying the effect of solar winds on the earth's atmosphere, with its various layers and magnetic fields. Their placement is important: processes in the magnetosphere, ionosphere, and atmosphere - especially the sun's influence on them - are especially apparent in the polar areas.

The project that is being prioritized by ESFRI, EISCAT_3D, involves an upgrade of the Swedish radar facility. Among other things, the new facility will make it possible to make measurements at different altitudes and from different directions at the same time, which would provide researchers with even better tools to study processes in the atmosphere, the ionosphere, and close to space. In order to find out how solar systems are formed, for instance, researchers are studying the processes behind the northern lights or weather conditions in space. The facility is estimated to be in use in 2013 if funding can be arranged.

"Making it into the ESFRI guide does not mean that financing has been taken care of. The projects themselves have to apply for funding from various sources, both national and international. But this is a weighty certification of quality that says this is a desirable european infrastructure project for climate and atmospheric research," says Lars Börjesson, Secretary General of Research Infrastructures at the Swedish Research Council.

Annakarin Svenningsson | alfa
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