EISCAT_3D is a multi-static phased array radar system for observations of the auroral zone to study the physics of the upper atmosphere and its interaction with space. EISCAT_3D is included as a Landmark on the ESFRI Roadmap to research infrastructures and is owned and operated by the international EISCAT Scientific Association (short EISCAT). EISCAT has its main office in Kiruna Sweden and is owned by funding and research organizations in 6 countries and is also supported by organizations in additional countries. Norway is member of EISCAT since its foundation and hosts two EISCAT sites organized through UiT, The Arctic University of Norway. This project includes the Norwegian contribution to the first implementation stage of EISCAT_3D. The EISCAT_3D radar stage 1 will consist of a transmitter and receiver site located near Skibotn, and two receiver sites located at approximately 130 km in Sweden and Finland.
The EISCAT_3D radar will measure the incoherent scatter of radio waves from the ionosphere with high spatial and time resolution beyond those achieved with current systems. The measurements can be applied to a broad range of space plasma physics studies, including the physical processes in the northern lights, effects of climate change and space weather. Aside from the incoherent scatter, other phenomena can also be studied with the radar including the detection of space debris and objects such as meteors that enter atmosphere of Earth.
EISCAT_3D uses new radar technology, including extensive interferometric antenna arrays, and state-of-the-art digital signal processing techniques. The current phase of the implementation, aside from the construction of the radar instruments, includes software development of observation codes and the definition of data products. Users in Norway and other countries collaborate with and support the EISCAT Association in the development work. This is encouraged through EISCAT organized EISCAT_3D user meetings, software development working group meetings and soon to be common mode programme working group meetings. The EISCAT_3D stage 1 system is under construction and first operations for research are expected in 2023.
This proposal is asking for Norwegian funding towards construction of EISCAT_3D (E3D), which is an international project on The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) roadmap. E3D is a world-class radar facility for investigations of the geospace environment. It will replace the ageing EISCAT facilities in northern Norway, Sweden and Finland. E3D will use the incoherent scattering (IS) technique to make 3-dimensional vector measurements across a wide field of view of key parameters in the auroral atmosphere by taking advantage of technological advances in radio, radar, computing, and signal analysis. E3D will have better sensitivity, resolution, capability, and flexibility than any of the other radar facilities in the world. E3D will allow us to understand the flows, sources, sinks, and interactions of energy, momentum and mass in the auroral atmosphere. E3D will provide synergies towards relevant areas of increasing socioeconomic importance; including atmospheric precursors of climate change and vulnerability of modern technological infrastructures due to space weather and space debris. E3D can study auroral particle precipitation that depletes ozone in the stratosphere, and atmospheric tides and sudden stratospheric warming events bring disturbances to the ionosphere from below. Real-time measurements from E3D will be provided to monitoring services dealing with space weather and space debris, a key focus of ESA's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme. E3D will also contribute to science and engineering education at all levels. The project will create opportunities to national industry and services in communications hardware and software and information technologies. This E3D project is backed by all major universities in Norway (Tromsø, Bergen, Oslo, UNIS and NTNU), Andøya Space Center and the Norwegian Space Centre. The application has been developed in close collaboration with EISCAT HQ and they strongly support it.