EISCAT operates three radar stations in northern Scandinavia and one in Longyearbyen on Svalbard. These radar facilities are used for studying the effect of solar winds on the earth’s atmosphere, with its various layers and magnetic fields. Their placement is important: processes in the magnetosphere and ionosphere – especially the sun’s influence on them – are especially apparent in the polar areas.

The project that is being prioritized by ESFRI, EISCAT_3D, involves an upgrade of the Swedish radar facility. Among other things, the new facility will make it possible to make measurements at different altitudes and from different directions at the same time, which would provide researchers with even better tools to study processes in the atmosphere, the ionosphere, and close to space. In order to study the processes behind the northern lights or weather conditions in space, for instance. The facility is estimated to be in use in 2013 if funding can be arranged.

“Making it into the ESFRI guide does not mean that financing has been taken care of. The projects themselves have to apply for funding from various sources, both national and international. But this is a weighty certification of quality that says this is a desirable european infrastructure project for climate and atmospheric research,” says Lars Börjesson, Secretary General of Research Infrastructures at the Swedish Research Council.

The cost of upgrading to EISCAT_3D is calculated to be roughly EUR 250 million.

EISCAT is already on the list of projects recommended in the Swedish Research Council’s Guide to Infrastructure.

EISCAT is headquartered in Kiruna, but the facility’s antennas are also placed in TromsĂž, in SodankylĂ€, and on Svalbard. Its member countries are China, Finland, Japan, Norway, the UK, Sweden, and Germany.

Sweden is already participating in the planning of 15 of the projects in the ESFRI guide. See the list at:

http://www.vr.se/huvudmeny/internationellasamarbeten/europeanstrategyforumonresearchinfrastructuresesfri.4.7bea596910e36c19cbc8000927.html

ESFRI Website: http://cordis.europa.eu/esfri/

EISCAT Website: https://e7.eiscat.se/

Images: Torbjörn Lövgren has EISCAT images: http://www.lovgrensfoto.com/OmTL.shtml

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