Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Falkland Islands Radar Study Impacts Climate Research

22.10.2010
New equipment will monitor activity which creates the ‘Southern Lights’
Physicists and engineers at the University of Leicester and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have installed a radar system on the Falkland Islands to monitor the upper atmosphere activity which creates the ‘Southern Lights’.
 
The University’s Radio and Space Plasma Physics Research Group already operates radars in Iceland and Finland which measure activity in the Arctic region.  Now, in partnership with BAS, they are able to do the same in the Antarctic. The radar station itself is a group of 16 fifty-foot aerials which can bounce radio signals off charged particles in the ionosphere.
 
The new radar joins a network of 22 such radars, the international Super Dual Auroral Radar Network or SuperDARN.  Data from SuperDARN is made available across the internet in real time, monitoring the upper atmosphere to understand its link with the lower atmosphere, where our weather is, and the impact of the Sun’s ‘solar wind’ on our environment.
 
Solar wind particles are carried to Earth where our planet’s magnetic field focuses them towards the poles where they collide with atmospheric particles, creating the spectacular light effects of the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) and Southern Lights (aurora australis).
 
“There are several radars already covering parts of Antarctica but the Falklands location is particularly interesting,” says Dr Steve Milan. “The magnetic field in that area is relatively weak, a phenomenon called the South Atlantic Anomaly. Also, winds rising over the Andes mountain range affect the upper atmosphere there.”
 
The Falklands radar is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
It is a collaboration between the University of Leicester, which supplied the masts, and BAS, which provided the electronic equipment.
 
“The electronics come from a long-established BAS radar station which is currently being moved and rebuilt because it’s on an ice shelf which is slipping into the sea,” explains Dr Milan. “When the equipment came back to the UK for refurbishment, we realised that we could combine it with a spare set of antennas and temporarily establish a station on the Falklands.”
 
The radar station was built with the aid of engineers from Leicester and BAS over several weeks at the start of this year and went operational on 14 February. It is based at Goose Green, a remote community which was the site of a famous battle during the 1982 Falklands conflict.
 
“Although the Earth receives most of its energy from sunlight, it’s not clear how important the solar wind is for atmospheric dynamics,” says Dr Milan. “Climatologists need to be able to factor the influence of the solar wind into their measurements and calculations.”
 
More information on the UK’s contribution to SuperDARN can be found at www.superdarn.ac.uk.
 
NOTE TO NEWSDESK:
  
For more information, contact Dr Milan on Tel. +44 116 223 1896
Email: steve.milan@ion.le.ac.uk
 
Images: available from pressoffice@le.ac.uk 
 
Erection of one of the 16 antennas that comprise the full Falkland Islands radar system, located at Goose Green.  Pictured are local contractors, who were overseen by University of Leicester and BAS engineers during a three-week construction period. Picture Credit: Dr Chris Thomas, University of Leicester
 
The completed Falkland Islands radar antenna array, comprising 16 50-foot masts.  The radar electronics are housed a 40-foot shipping container (seen behind the 4th mast from the left in the picture).  The settlement of Goose Green can be seen in the background.  The antennas were erected by a team of local contractors overseen by University of Leicester and BAS engineers during a three-week construction period. Picture Credit: Dr Chris Thomas, University of Leicester
 
The completed Falkland Islands radar antenna array, comprising 16 50-foot masts.  The radar electronics are housed in the 40-foot shipping container seen to the left.  The antennas were erected by a team of local contractors overseen by University of Leicester and BAS engineers during a three-week construction period. Picture Credit: Dr Chris Thomas, University of Leicester

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the UK's main agency for funding and managing world-class research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. It coordinates some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on earth, and much more.   NERC receives around £400 million a year from the government's science budget, which it uses to fund independent research and training in universities and its own research centres. www.nerc.ac.uk

British Antarctic Survey (BAS), a component of the Natural Environment Research Council, delivers world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that underpins a productive economy and contributes to a sustainable world. Its numerous national and international collaborations, leadership role in Antarctic affairs and excellent infrastructure help ensure that the UK maintains a world leading position. BAS has over 450 staff and operates five research stations, two Royal Research Ships and five aircraft in and around Antarctica. www.antarctica.ac.uk
 
Press Office Contact:
Ather Mirza
Press Office
Division of Corporate Affairs and Planning
University of Leicester
tel: 0116 252 3335
email: pressoffice@le.ac.uk
Twitter: @UniofLeicsNews
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER
- A member of the 1994 Group of universities that shares a commitment to research excellence, high quality teaching and an outstanding student experience.
Winner of Outstanding Student Support award, Times Higher 2009/10
Named University of the Year by Times Higher (2008/9) Shortlisted (2006, 2005) and by the Sunday Times (2007)
Ranked 12th in the UK by The Guardian and 15th by The Times out of more than 100 universities
Ranked in world’s top 2% of universities by the-QS World University Rankings
Described as Elite without being Elitist by the Times Higher Education magazine

Ather Mirza | University of Leicester
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk
http://www2.le.ac.uk/about/facts

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property
26.07.2017 | City College of New York

nachricht Large, distant comets more common than previously thought
26.07.2017 | University of Maryland

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>