EISCAT Science Support

EISCAT Science Support

Start date
1 September, 2012
End date
31 March, 2017

The EISCAT science support group is a collaboration between the British Antarctic Survey and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, funded via the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS)

EISCAT, the European Incoherent Scatter Association, is a scientific organization that facilitates research on the atmosphere and space weather using high power ionospheric radars in the Arctic.

The UK is one of the six members of the association, represented by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).  This gives UK scientists access to the facilities operated by EISCAT and the archive of data stretching back to the mid-1980s.

The facilities include three radars: two near the Norwegian city of Tromsø and a third on the island of Spitzbergen in the Svalbard archipelago.  The radars primarily measure properties of the Earth’s ionosphere (density & temperature) and can observe as low as the stratosphere (~20 km altitude) and as high as the top of the ionosphere (~2000 km altitude).

As the UK is an EISCAT Associate country, UK scientists gain access to the data taken by the radars (stretching back to the mid 1980s) and can apply for observing time to run their own experiments.

UK EISCAT science support provides expert help in developing and running experiments and in the interpretation of the measurements that are collected. They manage UK access to the EISCAT facilities via the time allocation process and provide expert advice on use of past radar data.

EISCAT UK science support provides support to all of the UK groups using the EISCAT facilities, either directly or indirectly.
Some specific objectives are to:

  • Provide the UK interface to the EISCAT radar systems, particularly for the planning and scheduling of radar operations
  • Manage and provide logistical support for experiment campaigns as required by the community
  • Provide analysed data, appropriate data handling software and assistance with data interpretation as required by the UK EISCAT community
  • Liaise with EISCAT to ensure that the UK is appropriately represented in EISCAT decision making and to monitor and maintain the quality of EISCAT data
  • Ensure that the views of UK users are represented in planning the future direction of the EISCAT organisation
  • Maintain a secure and updated copy of the full EISCAT archive at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, in association with the NERC Centre for Environmental Data Archiving
  • Investigate new techniques to maximise the usefulness of the EISCAT data products
  • Promote the value of the EISCAT data products, through seminars and presentations at conferences, in order to make them available to the widest possible audience
  • Maintain a dedicated project web site
  • Provide training for, and hold discussions with, data users and provide safety information to ensure the well being of UK users working at EISCAT.