Mesosphere Stratosphere Troposphere Radar Facility

Lead Research Organisation: NERC National Ctr for Atmospheric Sci

Abstract

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere (MST) Radar at Aberystwyth is the UK's most powerful and versatile wind-profiling instrument. It provides measurements of the vertical as well as the horizontal components of the wind. It is operated predominantly in the ST mode, covering the approximate altitude range 2 - 20 km at 300 m resolution. It is operated on a continuous basis, with a cycle time of a few minutes and can, under suitable circumstances, provide information about atmospheric stability, turbulence, humidity fields, and precipitation. It has been making mesospheric observations, i.e. covering the altitude range 56 - 94 km, continually since April 2005. The data products are freely available through the British Atmospheric Data Centre. The radar site is located at Capel Dewi (52.42°N, 4.01°W), near Aberystwyth in west Wales (UK). The Facility additionally operates and hosts a number of instruments whose observations complement those made by the MST radar. Other data products include surface measurements of meteorological parameters (i.e. wind-speed and direction, temperature, pressure, humidity, solar radiation and rain rate), cloud base altitudes and sky images.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The NERC MST Radar facility operates equipment on behalf of the UK's atmospheric research community. There are no comparable sources for many of its data products. The data have allowed many user scientists to carry out novel research.
Exploitation Route All of the work undertaken by the Facility enables other scientists to carry out novel research.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Transport

URL http://mst.nerc.ac.uk/publications_by_year.html
 
Description Data from the NERC MST Radar Facility are used by a wide range of scientists from a variety of disciplines for basic research. They are also used operationally for the purposes of numerical weather prediction by 4 European meteorological organisations: the Met Office (UK), Deutsche Wetterdienst (Germany), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, and MeteoSwiss (Switzerland). This is undertaken through a commercial contract with the Met Office, which provides 32% of the Facility's budget.
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Education,Energy,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Transport,Other
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Title Release of software aimed at helping scientists to include detailed metadata in their data files 
Description The software was produced as part of a data project being undertaken by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). The aims of the project are to improve the quality and quantity of metadata included in data files and to spread the use of these standards across the atmospheric science community. These allow scientists to better understand the characteristics of the data that they are using and help to ensure that the data can be reliably reused in the future. The tool reported here is designed to separate the semantic task of defining metadata from the technical task of including them within data files. The tool, together with its documentation, has been published under a GNU General Public License (GPL), which means that anyone can make use of it. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact It is too soon to determine the impacts arising from the NCAS project and from this tool in particular. 
URL https://github.com/ncasuk/metadata-from-template
 
Description Ongoing improvements in MST radar data quality 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The Met Office are supplied with wind-profile data (through a commercial contract) from the MST radar. They use the data for the purposes of Numerical Weather Prediction. In return they provide the MSTRF with data monitoring statistics, which give an indication of the quality of the data. One of the publications for 2013 ("The usefulness of model-comparison statistics for wind-profiling radar operators") is a result of this collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution The Met Office provide monthly statistics of radar wind data quality.
Impact Several conference proceedings have arisen from this collaboration as well as improvements to the data quality.
 
Description Use of wind-profile data by the Met Office 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The Met Office are supplied with wind-profile data (through a commercial contract) from the MST radar. They use the data for the purposes of Numerical Weather Prediction. In return they provide the MSTRF with data monitoring statistics, which give an indication of the quality of the data.
Collaborator Contribution Funding from the Met Office help to fund the Facility.
Impact The income from the Met Office has helped to fund capital investment.
 
Description A presentation on atmospheric refractive index to members of an amateur radio club. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The talk was combined with a visit, made by members of a local amateur radio club, to an atmospheric science research station.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description A talk entitled, A beginner's guide to cloud spotting. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The talk looked mainly at cumulus clouds and showed how their potential for growth varied enormously. It made use of time-lapse animations of images taken by a sky-camera at an atmospheric science field station. It was given for the benefit of all work experience students who were on placements at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the time.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description A talk entitled, Angels and Mirages. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The subject of the talk was atmospheric refractive index as revealed by "angels" (a technical term for radar backscatter from refractive index structures) and mirages (i.e. optical phenomena caused by the refractive index structure). It was given for the benefit of all work experience students who were on placements at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the time.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description A talk entitled, Ice Crystals at the Edge of Space 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The talk was essentially an atmospheric science talk looking at Noctilucent Clouds, which are literally composed of ice crystals at the end of space. It was given for the benefit of all Work Experience students who were on placements at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the time.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description A talk on "An introduction to atmospheric science", 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I gave a talk on the different types of cumulus clouds to 11 members of the Abingdon Sea Cadets group. This was in response to a specific request for someone to talk on a weather related theme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description A talk on "Angels and MIrages", i.e. about atmospheric refractive index. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The talk was put on for the benefit of all work experience students (who are aged between 15 and 18) and vacation students (who are part way through their undergraduate degrees) who were visiting the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the time.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description A talk on "Ice Crystals At The Edge of Space", i.e. about Noctilucent Clouds for work experience students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The talk was given to all work experience students (aged between 15 and 18) and vacation students (i.e. undergraduates) who were visiting the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the time.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Amateur Noctilucent Cloud observing network 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The MSTRF's Project Scientist (David Hooper) has been interacting with members of an amateur Noctilucent Cloud (NLC) observing network through a Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Noctilucent-Cloud-Observers-2012/199329523453711 . NLCs are a visible example of ice crystals that form high in the atmosphere during the mid-summer months. The ice crystals also give rise to intense radar echoes, which are observed by the MST Radar. This interaction has resulted in a scientific collaboration aimed at better uderstanding the NLCs and radar echoes.

This interaction has resulted in a scientific collaboration aimed at better uderstanding the NLCs and radar echoes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012,2013,2014
URL https://www.facebook.com/pages/Space_Clouds/525582080902600
 
Description BBC Weather Watchers training session 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A member of the team contributed to a local training session (at BBC Oxford) for the launch of the BBC Weather Watchers scheme. The aim of the scheme is to get members of the public to submit weather-related photographs and meteorological readings to a special website. The team member involved gave a presentation from the perspective of a professional atmospheric scientist. This reused materials that had been prepared for the Harwell Open Day earlier in the year.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/weatherwatchers
 
Description Harwell Open Days 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Over 1000 people attended the RAL Space exhibit at the Harwell Open Day in July 2015. This displayed the activities of the Department, which cover the NERC MST Radar Facility, to members of the general public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Lecture on Ice Crystals At The Edge Of Space 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact This was a talk about Noctilucent Clouds and Mesosphere Summer (radar) Echoes observed by the NERC MST Radar at Aberystwyth. It was given by the MSTRF's Project Scientist to the Aberystwyth (University) branch of the Institute of Physics.

The lecture was attended by undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentation entitled Who says that light has to travel in straight lines? The significance of atmospheric refractive index. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The MSTRF's Project Scientist gave a presentation to all work experience students (mostly 6th formers) and summer students (who are in the middle of studying for degrees) who were on placements at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the time. There were approximately 12 of them in total. The subject of the talk was atmospheric refractive index.

The talk increased the students' awareness of the range of scientific subjects that are dealt with within the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentation on "winds, waves, and turbulence", i.e. about atmospheric dynamics. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The talk was given to all work experience students (aged 15 - 18) and vacation students (who are part way through their undergraduate degrees) who were visiting the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the time.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation on Bumble Bees 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This presentation was given by the MSTRF's Project Scientist (a keen amateur naturalist) to a group of approximately 12 mixed-age primary school pupils as part of their citizenship lessons. The focus was on Bumble Bees and their importance for pollination.

The pupils gained a better understanding of bees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentation on From Angels To Wind-Profiles 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The MSTRF's Project Scientist was invited to give a presentation at the Centenary Convention of the Radio Society of Great Britain, i.e. the national organisation for amateur radio enthusiasts. The audience was composed of about 40 adults. No school children were involved. The talk concerned atmospheric refractive index, which affects radio wave propagation as well as causing radar returns for lower VHF radars . The latter is of direct relevance to the MSTRF.

There is potential for members of the amateur radio community to be able to contribute scientifically useful information for professional researchers engaged in the field of radio wave propagation and scattering.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentation on Noctilucent Clouds 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The MSTRF's Project Scientist gave a presentation on Noctilucent Clouds - i.e. ice crystals that form at the edge of space - to approximately 18 members (all adults) of the Southampton Astronomy Society.

The talk provided the astronomer attendees with something to look out for during the short nights of summer, when traditional astronomy activities are limited by the lack of darkness.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentation to the Southampton Cafe Scientific 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Facility's Project Scientist (David Hooper) was invited to give a presentation to the Southampton Cafe Scientific (i.e. to interested members of the public) on 8th October 2012. The subject of the presentation was atmospheric refractive index, which is of direct relevance to the operations of the NERC MST Radar. It is also responsible for optical phenomena such as mirages.

I was subsequently invited by a member of the audience to give a talk to a different group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.divdev.fsnet.co.uk/scicaf.htm
 
Description Presentation to work experience students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The MSTRF's Project Scientist gave a presentation on the MSTRF to a group of work experience students. The students, who were mostly Year 10 and Year 11 pupils, were visiting the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the time.

The talk broadened the students' experience of the type of research carried out at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Publication of a time-lapse video showing Altocumulus clouds displaying both undulatus and lenticularis features. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The time-lapse video was created from images taken by the NERC MST Radar Facility's Sky-Camera. Its intended purpose is to give a clear and easily-understandable example of atmospheric phenomena for interested members of the public, students of atmospheric science, and professional scientists. It has been published under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means that anyone may access and make us of it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://cedadocs.ceda.ac.uk/1308/
 
Description Publication of a time-lapse video showing Altocumulus lenticularis clouds revealing Mountain Wave activity. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The time-lapse video was created from images taken by the NERC MST Radar Facility's Sky-Camera. Its intended purpose is to give a clear and easily-understandable example of atmospheric phenomena for interested members of the public, students of atmospheric science, and professional scientists. It has been published under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means that anyone may access and make us of it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://cedadocs.ceda.ac.uk/1309/
 
Description Publication of a time-lapse video showing Cirrostratus clouds giving rise to a 22° Halo around the Sun. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The time-lapse video was created from images taken by the NERC MST Radar Facility's Sky-Camera. Its intended purpose is to give a clear and easily-understandable example of atmospheric phenomena for interested members of the public, students of atmospheric science, and professional scientists. It has been published under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means that anyone may access and make us of it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://cedadocs.ceda.ac.uk/1298/
 
Description Publication of a time-lapse video showing Cumulonimbus cloud development at sunset. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The time-lapse video was created from images taken by the NERC MST Radar Facility's Sky-Camera. Its intended purpose is to give a clear and easily-understandable example of atmospheric phenomena for interested members of the public, students of atmospheric science, and professional scientists. It has been published under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means that anyone may access and make us of it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://cedadocs.ceda.ac.uk/1311/
 
Description Publication of a time-lapse video showing widespread development of Cumulonimbus clouds, some of which have extensive Anvils. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The time-lapse video was created from images taken by the NERC MST Radar Facility's Sky-Camera. Its intended purpose is to give a clear and easily-understandable example of atmospheric phenomena for interested members of the public, students of atmospheric science, and professional scientists. It has been published under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means that anyone may access and make us of it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://cedadocs.ceda.ac.uk/1310/
 
Description Publication of a time-laspe video showing the development of Cumulus congestus clouds, leading to a Rain Shower and a Rainbow. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The time-lapse video was created from images taken by the NERC MST Radar Facility's Sky-Camera. Its intended purpose is to give a clear and easily-understandable example of atmospheric phenomena for interested members of the public, students of atmospheric science, and professional scientists. It has been published under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means that anyone may access and make us of it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://cedadocs.ceda.ac.uk/1301/
 
Description Supervision of a work experience student 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The MSTRF's Project Scientist supervised a 16 year old work experience student during her 1 week placement at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The student was required to look through animations of images from the MSTRF's a sky-camera and to note down the start and stop date-times of interesting atmospheric phenomena.

The student gained an awareness of different atmospheric processes that can be seen in cloud formations/behaviours. The student also contributed to a systematic log of interesting events.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Supervision of a work experience student 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The work experience student spent 1 week at my place of work, helping to create a log of interesting atmospheric phenomena seen in the images taken by a sky-camera.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk on Ice crystals at the edge of space 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The MSTRF's Project Scientist gave a talk on Noctilucent Clouds, i.e. on ice crystals that form at altitudes of around 82 km during the mid-summer months. This was to a group of approximately 25 students who were visiting the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the time. Although many of these were work experience students, i.e. 15 and 16 year olds, some were University students on summer placements.

This talk gave the students a broader idea of the science areas of interest within the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Talk on My favourite book 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This was an unusual activity in that its aim was to encourage the children to become more-engaged in reading. The teacher was keen to get a wide variety of people involved in the project, including scientists such as the MSTRF's Project Scientist. The pupils were particularly interested in how the life of a research scientist provided opportunities for living and working in exotic foreign locations. This tapped into the theme of adventure in the chosen book - Rudyard Kipling's "Kim".

The pupils were made aware of the wider implications of being a scientist.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Undergraduate student visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact A group of Environmental Science undergarduates, from the University of Manchester, visited the MST Radar site as part of a field trip. They were shown the different instruments and what they were used for. Such visits are made on an annual basis.

The students collected atmospheric data during their visit to the radar site and afterwards carried out an analysis exercise using the data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014