SuperDarn radar at McMurdo Station Antarctica photo by Bill BristowSuperDARN is an international HF radar network designed to measure global-scale magnetospheric convection by observing plasma motion in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Plasma convection is controlled by a series of interactions between the solar wind, the Earth’s magnetosphere, and the high-latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) ionosphere.

By measuring the global-scale plasma motions and studying their temporal evolution, we obtain a better understanding of the processes that couple the solar wind’s energy and momentum to the upper atmosphere, and thereby obtain a better understanding of space weather processes at polar latitudes. SuperDARN is the only approach that will enable us to make direct measurements of these motions on a global scale for the foreseeable future.