Friday, 22 July 2011

Greenland: A Night of Student Experiments

The International Incoherent Scatter Radar Workshop is taking place at the moment at Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, just a short drive from the Sondrestrom radar. This radar school is the first joint AMISR-EISCAT radar school and it has a record number of 44 students with widely varying backgrounds. All of them sharing an eager interest in learning everything incoherent scatter. In the photo above, Anja Strømme, PI of the radar and organiser of the workshop, explains the radar operations to a group of students.

Right on the first day, we split the group into seven small groups. The school is organised in such a way that there are lectures in the mornings and group work in the afternoons. Already on the second day, with a deadline of 1700 LT, the student groups had to submit proposals for radar experiments. These experiments were then run during the night of Tuesday/Wednesday. Every group was given a 90-min time slot to run both the Sondrestrom ISR or the EISCAT UHF radar in Tromsø, Norway, which was remotely controlled from the Sondrestrom site and displayed in the living room area of the site on a large screen (photo). We began with the first experiment at 2000 LT and continued all night. Everyone was excited to get their own radar experiment.

Subsequently the data was analysed and made available in the Madrigal data base, which is a networked database for most of the world's incoherent scatter radar data. During the rest of the week, the student groups will study their data in the afternoons while the lectures continue in the mornings. On Saturday, all groups have to present their results to the workshop. The presentations are half an hour long, and everyone of every group must present a few slides. We are all looking forward to this day, as it is usually very interesting and also a lot of fun.

We were very lucky to have the founder of Kellyville, John Kelly of SRI International, with us during most of the radar school. Here John (on the left, wearing the EISCAT_3D hi-vis vest) is discussing the EISCAT UHF experiment with Ingemar Häggström of EISCAT Headquarters.

Again, we owe a very big THANK YOU to the Ingemar, Jussi, Bill, Craig, and Anja who ran and explained the night's experiments, to Mary, Bill, and Ingemar for analysing the data as fast as possible, to the site crew Eggert, John, Henrik, and Ulla for operating the radar, and to K.T., Mike and Ulla for driving students back and forth between Kangerlussuaq and Kellyville all night. Well done, all of you, this would have been impossible without you!

Photos: Thomas Ulich.

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