The Port Stanley site

Port Stanley

Latitude 51.89 S
Longitude 302.20 E

The sounder at Port Stanley is a Lowell Digisonde, DPS-1. It continues the second longest sequence of ionospheric soundings, started in 1945. The only major break in this sequence occurred in 1982, when the original sounder was damaged during the Falklands Conflict.

The importance of these long data sequences was highlighted recently when M.Jarvis from the British Antarctic Survey used data from the Stanley ionosonde (amongst others) to show that the height of the ionospheric layers is decreasing, as predicted by climate change models.

The Falkland Islands lie under a region of anomalously weak magnetic field known as the South Atlantic Anomaly. Here, ionisation from the radiation belts can penetrate further into the atmosphere. These particles can cause glitches in satellites orbiting at these altitudes and in order to prevent the loss of such satellites, they are often powered down as they cross through this region. Detecting such ionisation with the Stanley ionosonde could help predict periods when satellites are particularly vulnerable to this radiation.

More Images
The RAL Ionosondes Group
The Chilton site
The Lerwick site

20/03/97 Chris Davis