Just north of the Arctic Circleand 100 km inland from the west coast of Greenland lies a research facility dedicated to studying the polar upper atmosphere. For historical reasons, this research station is known around the world as the Sondrestrom Upper Atmospheric Research Facility in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. The facility is operated by SRI International in Menlo Park, California, under the auspices of the U.S. National Science Foundation. The facility has been operating in Greenland since 1983 and continues to be in high demand by the scientific communities.
This facility is host to more than 20 instruments, the majority of which provide unique and complementary information about the arctic upper atmosphere. Together these instruments advance our knowledge of upper atmospheric physics and determine how the tenuous neutral gas interacts with the charged space plasma environment. The suite of instrumentation supports many disciplines of research; from plate tectonics to auroral physics and space weather. The facility instrumentation covers the electromagnetic spectrum while the data results span the spectrum of polar research.
The centerpiece instrument of the facility is an L-band incoherent scatter (IS) radar with a 32 m fully steerable antenna. The IS radar technique is a powerful tool capable of measuring range-resolved ionospheric and atmospheric parameters simultaneously from the ground to the outer reaches of our atmosphere. Use of a steerable antenna allows spatial coverage in both latitude and longitude.
Data from the facility are used by hundreds of scientists annually. Dozens of scientists, engineers, and students visit the site each year to install hardware, implement enhancements to collocated instruments, and collect data in real time in multi-instrument campaigns.
Access to the facility can be arranged by SRI for qualified scientific users. Information regarding visits to Sondrestrom and a detailed facility description are available on this website (see Visiting Sondrestom). Further information and assistance with siting additional instruments can be provided by SRI (see Contacts).
Requests for data from the various instruments should be directed to the specific principal investigator (see Instruments).