MST radar

MST radars use a higher frequency radio pulse than the medium frequency radar, and this makes the MST radar at Davis capable of measuring the wind near the ground as well as high in the atmosphere. Its latest wind profile, shows the wind speed up to around 10 km above Davis. Here the arrows indicate the direction (North is upward) and the colour describes the wind speed. These winds are gathered every few minutes: much more often than weather balloon measurements which are usually only made twice a day.

The MST radar is also able to see Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes (PMSE). These enhancements in the reflected radar signal occur in the polar regions in summer. They are thought to be related to noctilucent clouds which were first observed in the northern hemisphere late in the 19th century. Scientists now think that they were an early indication that human activity (such as the industrial revolution) was affecting our atmosphere. Observations of PMSE in the southern hemisphere were limited by a lack of instrumentation until the Davis radar was installed in 2003. Images showing the strength of the PMSE, (the 'signal to noise ratio') over the last day are created every few hours.

This page was last modified on 6 January 2007.