The University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide Australia
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The atmosphere is a complex system in which energy is absorbed, stored, radiated and transported by a rich variety of processes that impact directly on the environment. The Atmospheric Physics group is mainly concerned with the study of the dynamics and structure of the atmosphere from the ground up to a height of about 100 km. Emphasis is placed on ground-based radar and optical studies of the dynamics and structure over a wide range of time scales, but other related areas, such as meteor and ionospheric physics, are also of interest. There is particular interest in the development of new hardware and data analysis techniques, as well as on data acquisition and interpretation. Many of the techniques developed by the group have become widely adopted on a world-wide basis as the standard methods in the field.

The Atmospheric Physics group carries out its research at a number of field sites in the southern hemisphere. The main field station at Buckland Park, located some 40 km north of Adelaide, is used for both radar and optical studies. Buckland Park, which is some 150 hectares in area, is the site of three radars, one of which operates at 2 MHz and the other two at 54 MHz, as well as the optical instruments. The 2 MHz radar uses a 1 km x 1 km antenna array containing 178 elements, which makes it the largest of its kind in the world and is used for studies of the dynamics of the 60-100 km region. The 54 MHz VHF ST radar or "wind-profiler" is used to study winds, waves and turbulence in the lower atmosphere up to 15-20 km. It was the first of its type in the southern hemisphere. All these instruments are designed to be as versatile as possible, so that a wide range of experiments can be carried out. The large height range which can be covered enables the coupling of energy and momentum between different atmospheric regions to be investigated. Other radar measurements of winds in the 60-100 km height range are made at Davis Base, Antarctica, Christmas Island on the equator in the central Pacific, and Pontianak on the equator in Indonesia. Observations made at these widely separated locations gives a global perspective to our investigation of atmospheric dynamics.

The group has strong links with the Australian Antarctic Division and cooperates in a variety of radar and optical experiments located at Davis Base. In 1996, a lidar, originally developed by our group, was installed at Davis to measure atmospheric densities, temperatures, and winds from heights near 10 km to about 80 km. An important goal is to study the physical process related to the ozone hole and other issues of global change.

By its very nature the atmosphere knows no boundaries and the group cooperates closely with other organisations both nationally and internationally, exchanging both personnel and data. Within Australia we cooperate with the Antarctic Division, the Bureau of Meteorology, and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, as well as other University groups. At an international level we have strong links with groups in Canada, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Sweden, and the USA.