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 When fluid flows almost as fast as light -- with quantum rotation
22.06.2018 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

nachricht Thermal Radiation from Tiny Particles
22.06.2018 | Universität Greifswald

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: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>