Why is SuperDARN Important?

The technologically driven and dependant world we live in is vulnerable to the phenomena of near-Earth space environment. In order to mitigate detrimental effects of Space Weather, it is imperative to understand the Sun-Earth system. Canada, as a Northern nation, relies heavily on technology that is vulnerable to Space Weather effects (effects like: pipeline corrosion, damage to the electrical power grids, degradation of satellite navigation (e.g. GPS) accuracy, loss of radio communications, radiation from space causing polar flights to be diverted, and damage to telecommunications satellites that facilitate billions of dollars of business every day).

SuperDARN is also an important part of the national scientific program Geospace Observatory (GO) Canada, spanning five universities and three government departments, and SuperDARN is essential for support of the Canadian satellite mission ePOP and ESA’s Swarm satellite mission.

Canada has been the sole contributor to the important Arctic component of the international SuperDARN program, with the most northerly radars at Rankin Inlet, Inuvik, and Clyde River. The Canadian SuperDARN radar sites are established physical presences in the Canadian High Arctic. Canada plays an irreplaceable role in the SuperDARN collaboration by providing coverage of the High Arctic.

Space science is currently in its infancy, and researchers worldwide are studying parts of the system. The final model must be capable of dealing with processes as big as the solar system and as small as an electron at the same time. The global nature of SuperDARN observations are essential for understanding how electromagnetic forces in space affect the Earth on a global scale, and to understanding the localized plasma physics in the ionosphere.