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The Upper Atmosphere


We greatly appreciate the support of the Geophysical Institute and the HLMS in carrying out this research.




T he High Latitude Monitoring Station (HLMS) is located on the outskirts of Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage, Alaska. HLMS was established in 1950 by the Department of Commerce. The U.S. Air Force quickly become involved as the HLMS mission expanded during the 1950s and 1960s to include the diagnostics listed below. In 1972, joint operation between the USAF Weather Service and NOAA's Space Environment Laboratory began, and the station officially became the High Latitude Monitoring Station. The Geophysical Institute deployed a new 50 MHz auroral radar system in 1991 which was jointly operated by the GI and NOAA. The last NOAA personnel left in May 1994. Today, the HLMS is operated entirely by the GI, with one technician on site. HLMS instruments are connected to the Geophysical Institute by leased data lines. The primary mission of HLMS has been to monitor the earth's ionospheric environment and to collect and reduce raw geophysical data (including seismological information) for analysis and archiving at the Geophysical Institute and other organizations nationwide.

HLMS supports the following instrumentation for ionospheric research: In addition, the 30 MHz portable coherent scatter radar imager has been deployed at the HLMS to support sounding rocket campaigns from the Poker Flat range and the AMISR radar nearby. The radar uses spaced receiver techniques and inverse methodology to construct three-dimensional images of the radar aurora and to extract information about the fine structure in the ionospheric electric field. The radar will be operated heavily throughout the spring of 2007, when real-time data will be available online. Radar images will be posted here when processed.


These are some of the sights of the HLMS, as photographed by the station manager John Peters. The station also houses a diverse collection of technology representing the last 50 years in aeronomy research, as exemplified by the equipment rack shown to the lower left.