Resolute Bay VHF radar: A multipurpose tool for studies of tropospheric motions, middle atmosphere dynamics, meteor physics, and ionospheric physics


  • W. K. Hocking,

  • M. Kelley,

  • R. Rogers,

  • W. O. J. Brown,

  • D. Moorcroft,

  • J.-P. St. Maurice


A VHF radar has been established at a site near Resolute Bay in Nunavut, Canada (75°N, 95°W), which has the capability to make a variety of measurements relating to the atmospheric and ionospheric environment in the polar regions. The site is very close to the north geomagnetic pole, and therefore the radar is well situated to make some unique measurements. The system is a multipurpose instrument with good remote control capabilities. It can be used as a wind profiler radar to study the lower troposphere, as a mesospheric radar to study polar mesosphere summer echoes (PMSE) in summer, as a meteor radar to determine winds in the altitude region of 80–100 km, and as an ionospheric radar to study 3 m scale irregularities in the E and F regions. The radar has some unique design features, partly dictated by the rough terrain in which it is sited. In this paper, the radar system is described, including description of some unusual approaches to deal with special conditions at the site, and then some key early results are presented. Important findings include error determinations for tropospheric wind measurements, detection of PMSE, correlations between PMSE and atmospheric temperatures at 86 km altitude, measurements of mean winds and tidal characteristics over a full year, and detection of various normal modes of oscillation in the 80–100 km region, especially in nonsummer months. Some of these features will be discussed here, but more detailed discussions will be left to related papers in this issue.