Press Releases
Apr. 25, 2011

The MST/IS radar detected the first echo from the atmosphere in the Antarctic

  • Kaoru Sato (Department of Earth and Planetary Science, The University of Tokyo)
  • Masaki Tsutsumi (National Institute of Polar Research)
  • Takashi Yamanouchi (National Institute of Polar Research)


The MST (Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere)/IS (Incoherent Scatter) radar in the Antarctic has been constructed at Syowa Station, first in the Antarctic. This radar is composed of about 1000 Yagi antennas in a circular area with a diameter of about 160 m and capable of observation in the atmosphere in the height region from 1 to 500 km with accuracy much higher than conventional observational tools in the Antarctic. As a main activity of the 52nd Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition, the radar construction started in late December 2010 and the first stage of the construction had been completed in the middle of February 2011, regardless of record-worst weather condition at Syowa Station. The first echo from the Antarctic atmosphere was detected successfully in late March 2011.

Although the Antarctic region is located far from the human activity, unique atmospheric phenomena such as polar mesospheric clouds around an altitude of 90 km and the ozone hole around 17 km are formed originating from the human activity. Nevertheless, the ground observations in the Antarctic have been retarded compared with lower latitude regions because of its harsh natural environment. The radar will explore the physics of such unique phenomena and atmospheric waves driving the global circulation which are not yet well known for the Antarctic, and clarify the role of the Antarctic in the Earth's climate system. This project is a collaboration of 11 universities and 8 institutes with a core of the University of Tokyo and National Institute of Polar Research.

Paper information

SPARC (Stratospheric Processes and Their Role in Climate) Newsletter, No.36, 23-26, 2011. “Program of the Antarctic Syowa MST/IS Radar (PANSY)”, Kaoru Sato, Masaki Tsutsumi, Toru Sato, Takuji Nakamura, Akinori Saito, Yoshihiro Tomikawa, Koji Nishimura, Hisao Yamagishi and Takashi Yamanouchi.