Researchers at the Virginia Tech SuperDARN laboratory have been working on adding four new radars to the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN). SuperDARN is an international collaboration involving scientists and engineers in more than a dozen countries. High frequency (HF) radars are positioned around the world and operated continuously to provide global, instantaneous maps of plasma convection in the Earth's ionosphere. Scientists around the world use SuperDARN data to help understand the many effects of space weather, according to Joseph Baker, who is part of the Virginia Tech SuperDARN team, along with Ray Greenwald, J. Michael Ruohoniemi, and Lasse Clausen.
Originally, SuperDARN measurements were available only for the far northern and southern latitudes, but in recent years SuperDARN researchers have been adding new radars to the network to extend its coverage to middle latitudes. In the past two years, the Virginia Tech SuperDARN team has worked on building four new radars at two separate sites: Ft. Hays, Kansas, and Christmas Valley, Oregon. Dartmouth College is the lead institution for the two Christmas Valley radars and Virginia Tech is the lead institution for the two Hays radars. Over the next couple of years, the Virginia Tech team will be involved in adding two radars in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, and two more in the Azores Islands of Portugal.