A few years ago it was noticed that all the world's incoherent scatter radars are in the northern hemisphere, and we do not have any means to measure in the southern hemisphere. The high or even mid latitudes in the southern hemisphere are covered by oceans, where islands are few and far between. Reaching the high southern latitudes means entering Antarctica, a continent which, even today, is almost as hard to reach as space. Yet there are permanently staffed stations across the continent.
The US geospace sciences community has proposed a Movable Antarctic Incoherent Scatter Radar (MAISR) to be considered by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The first MAISR is currently targeted for the US Antarctic station McMurdo to address polar cap ionospheric research, and MAISR's feasibility study is underway.
McMurdo is an interesting location, because it is roughly magnetically conjugate to Resolute Bay, where there are two incoherent scatter radars (RISR-N and RISR-C).
In August 2008, the first "International Antarctic Incoherent Scatter Radar Workshop" was hosted in conjunction with the XXIX URSI General Assembly in Chicago, and the report "The Antarctic Incoherent Scatter Radar Facility – Transformational Solar-Terrestrial Research in the High South" was published shortly thereafter.
The overarching goal of the MAISR Workshop is to inspire international scientific communities to consider be partners in the MAISR construction and exploitation, especially looking for the future sites where MAISR could be moved after initial operation.
The second "International Antarctic Incoherent Scatter Radar Workshop" will be held in conjunction with the XXX URSI General Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey, 13th to 14th August 2011. Topics of the workshop will be:
- Construction of a road map of the relevant science topics
- Creation of a timeline for location/re-location of the MAISR systems and a science plan compliant with:
- Most urgent science topics to address.
- Natural variation like solar cycles.
- National and international science and infrastructure plans, both in Antarctica and the conjugate high north.
For more information refer to this year's workshop page or contact Anja Strømme (anja [dot] stromme [at] sri [dot] com).
Edited: links to workshop page added, 2011-06-21.