The EISCAT Svalbard Radar: an Evolutionary Step into EISCAT's Future

EISCAT has substantially contributed to studies of the auroral ionosphere and the coupling between the magnetosphere, the ionosphere, the thermosphere, the middle and lower atmosphere. The altitude range covered is between about 2 km and more than 1800 km, and the latitude coverage is limited to about 65 N to 75 N. The maximum magnetic invariant latitude that can be reached is about 76 . The ionospheric measurements of EISCAT at these high latitudes are limited due to the low elevation angles of the antennas and the large ranges.

To obtain improved measurements in the high latitude ionosphere in the polar cap, in the magnetospheric cusp region and in the atmospheric region of the Arctic an additional radar station was decided to be set up north of the present EISCAT stations on Spitsbergen, in the archipelago of Svalbard. This radar is seen as an essential ground based tool for studies of the cusp/cleft region of the magnetosphere, which are planned to be carried out with the Cluster spacecraft mission of ESA and other groundbased instrumentation. The EISCAT Svalbard Radar will undoubtedly allow new scientific research of the geo-space coupling to the ionosphere and related plasma physical processes. Investigations of the Arctic stratosphere and troposphere, which are essential in view of global change and environmental research, will also be added.

In 1990 the EISCAT Council had accepted that the Svalbard Radar represents the next important evolutionary step for the development of the EISCAT facilities. In the report "The EISCAT Svalbard Radar", which was prepared on a decision of the EISCAT Council, details of the scientific rationale, the preliminary design specifications and cost estimates for the EISCAT Svalbard Radar were published in 1991.

During the EISCAT Council meeting on 12-13 November 1992 in Uppsala, Sweden, the Council approved the project planning and unanimously decided to begin the construction of the EISCAT Svalbard Radar, which is termed the ESR.

The primary specifications of the ESR system were presented and largely frozen at the ESR Design Review Meeting, which took place from 28 September to 1 October 1992 in Ylläsjärvi/Finland. The global system specifications, the management, the personnel and the financing plan were presented to the Council and were generally adopted. In the following one finds the history of major milestones of the ESR planning, a summary of the project management, the personnel and financing concepts and the abridged description of site and instrumentation of the EISCAT Svalbard Radar.

Together with the EISCAT mainland radars in Tromsø, Kiruna and Sodankylä, the EISCAT Svalbard Radar will allow an extensive view of the high latitude region of the Earth's atmospheric environment. It is awaited that this expansion of EISCAT by the EISCAT Svalbard Radar will also provide a focal point for ionospheric and atmospheric research in the auroral, polar and Arctic region.

See also an outline of the Project structure, the ESR development Milestones and an abridged ESR Technical Specification.

Document : ANRE92A.DOC (part)

Created : 6.11.93

By : Jürgen Röttger

Html debugged and edited 02/08-95 by Bjørge; Brekke