Overview of EISCAT Node

Installation 1 - Location (town, country): Tromsø, Norway (Tromsø ISR)

Installation 2 - Location (town, country): Kiruna, Sweden EISCAT ISR/Dynasonde Database)

Web site: www.eiscat.se

Description of the infrastructure:

EISCAT Scientific Association operates three incoherent scatter radars in the Northern Scandinavia (since 1981) and on Svalbard (since 1995). EISCAT is also constructing the new generation phased array EISCAT_3D radar to be operational 2022, an installation included as an ESFRI landmark 2018. The incoherent scatter technique offers a powerful ground-based and versatile technique for ionospheric research. The unique locations of the radars, the only ones with their capabilities in Europe and at and inside of the auroral oval, make them a world leading research infrastructure for studies of the coupling between the magnetosphere and the ionosphere/atmosphere. The funding from an international group of research councils enables a yearly operation time of about 2000 hours. The low level data sets have an embargo time of exclusive use within the Association for up to four years, but a quick-look set of data products is publicly open at once. This data set is widely used by scientists all over the world.

EISCAT also operates a Dynasonde at the radar site in Tromsø, in operation 24/7. The Dynasonde functions similar to an ionosonde but with a set of distributed receivers and is one of two operating in Europe. It is however unique within the PITHIA-NRF instrumentation. With specially developed software this enables a multitude of products to be calculated such as inversion into electron density profiles, angles-of-arrival and 3D vector fields.

EISCAT operates a powerful HF radar/heater in Tromsø. As a heater it is used to study fundamental plasma physics processes, by driving the natural plasma to unstable states and probing it with the ISRs and the Dynasonde. This combination is unique in the world. The advantage of using the ionosphere as plasma laboratory is that edge effects are minimized. When used as a radar, the power and frequency of the facility additionally enables probing of the magnetosphere from the ground.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure:

EISCAT offers two types of TNA services, ISR and ISRdb, for novel users outside of the Association. Current members of the Association are Sweden, Finland, Norway, China, Japan and the UK, Today, there are also a few short-term affiliated institutes: RIAN in Ukraine, IRAP in France, DLR-SO in Germany, and KASI and KOPRI in South Korea. The annual observing program of around 2000 hours, is divided into two main parts: The Common Program collects data to be open to all EISCAT members, and during the Special Program the radars operate according to individual members’ funding ratio and the data is embargoed for one year. The low level data is further embargoed for additional three years within the Association after being publically released. By offering these TNA services, the information and knowledge of the unique capabilities of EISCAT will be spread to new users and research areas. The aim is to show the great importance of the facilities in primary the PITHIA-NRF field, but also to widen the service of open data products. One goal is also to expand the membership numbers of the association and thus secure sufficient funding for long-term of operations.

The ISR service consists of inviting users to operate the radars in special modes. This can involve specializing the operating mode for specific regions of space, such as bottomside/topside of the ionosphere or specific directions, or for special times when other instruments are operating in the radar area, such as satellite overpasses or cameras. The user will come to the radar facility, be assisted in realizing their interests into actual radar specific modes with adequate signal processing after the runs of total 8h.

The ISRdb service consists of inviting users to Kiruna to work on already taken data in the EISCAT databases, including embargoed data. This can be for long-term studies as well as for specific selections of times and radar modes. The EISCAT data is by its nature extremely rich, and the same data can be analysed for different data products and purposes. A study can also include digging into unique parameters of the Dynasonde database, not normally exposed in general data searches.

For both services the user will be assisted in running the appropriate analysis software, his/her own, EISCATs or a mix thereof, depending on the complexity of the study. The process continues after the visit for several months with further assistance of analysis and discussions of its limitations.

  • Number of users accessing EISCAT databases: >1000/year
  • Number of papers resulted with EISCAT data from external users: ~50/year, https://eiscat.se/scientist/publications/#publications2020
  • Number of participants attended events that we have organized in the past (conferences, schools, etc):
    • EISCAT Symposium, biannualy (odd years): ~100-150
    • Radar Summer Schools, almost every summer: ~40
    • EISCAT_3D User Meeting, annualy in May, Uppsala, Sweden: ~50

New areas opening to users:

  • ISR/HF experiments and training on data evaluation and analysis.
  • Magnetosphere-ionosphere-atmosphere coupling.
  • Auroral electrodynamics statistical models.
  • Space environment- atmosphere coupling at the statistical southern edges of the polar vortex and the auroral oval.
  • Meteoroids, dust particles and near-Earth objects detection experiments.
  • Ionospheric 3D imaging.