SuperDARN UK provides UK scientists with direct access to continuous regional synoptic and climatological measurements of winds, waves and tides in the North and South Atlantic sector upper atmosphere, and of energy inputs from Space. Operations are continuous with typically less than few percent downtime in the last five years of operation at Halley, Hankasalmi, and Þykkvibær.

Typical data products from a single radar include:

  • line-of-sight neutral wind speeds in the mesosphere (~94 km)
  • line-of-sight plasma drift speeds in the ionosphere (~100 km and 400 km altitude)
  • speed, direction and wavelength of gravity waves in the ionosphere
    (aka travelling ionospheric disturbances)
  • polar mesosphere summer echo occurrence (related to polar mesosphere/noctilucent clouds)
  • meteor occurrence and altitude
  • speed, direction and wavelength of ultra-low frequency magnetohydrodynamic waves
  • space weather diagnostics (magnetic reconnection rate, magnetic field-aligned current)
  • sea state

By combining such measurements from more than one radar, estimates can also be made of:

  • complete global convection in the ionosphere
  • atmospheric tides and planetary waves

SuperDARN UK data is transferred in near real time from the radars to a distributed national data archive and also to the international SuperDARN data archive.

Metadata will be provided via NERC’s British Atmospheric Data Centre. Full data access and browsing is provided via a data portal provided by the British Antarctic Survey as part of NERC’s Polar Data Centre.

High level products are also available via the international SuperDARN website. Here there are over 1500 registered users worldwide and the statistics of usage include 225,000 hits per month from 2400 unique IP addresses, and 31,000 plots viewed per month.

SuperDARN data is currently provided free of charge for scientific research purposes, but opportunities also exist for commercial and government customers to receive data and value-added services. Members of the SuperDARN UK community already exchange knowledge with UK satellite insurers, military radio operators, electricity providers, and an oil exploration company, through contracts and consultancy.