Space weather ionosonde upgrades

We're updating 12 existing space weather ionosondes across Australia and our offshore territories.

  • Brisbane (Ningi)
  • Canberra (Mt Stromlo)
  • Casey, Antarctica
  • Cocos Islands
  • Darwin
  • Hobart
  • Learmonth
  • Mawson, Antarctica
  • Niue
  • Norfolk Island
  • Perth
  • Townsville

Data from the ionosonde network is critical to the Bureau's space weather capability, providing space weather forecasts, alerts and warnings to our customers.

Once finished, the community, aviation, energy, and communication sectors, and the Department of Defence will benefit from the installation of improved ionosondes.

The benefits will include:

  • improved resilience, security, and reliability of the Space Weather ionosonde network
  • more effective and efficient ongoing management and maintenance to the Space Weather ionosonde network
  • enhanced delivery of vital space weather information services to the Australian public.

What is an ionosonde?

Ionosondes are important pieces of equipment in our space weather capability.

An ionosonde is a high frequency radar. It sends short pulses of radio energy into the Earth's upper atmosphere, known as the ionosphere.

The pulses reflect back to earth. The ionosonde records the time delay between sending and receiving the pulses.

Using ionosonde data

Data from an ionosonde arrives in a report called an ionogram.

An ionogram

  • describes the structure and features of the ionosphere at that time
  • is an essential input into many space weather forecasts and warnings.

We maintain many ionosondes across our observation network.

Managing space weather risks

Sectors exposed to space weather risk include:

  • aviation
  • energy
  • defence
  • telecommunication industries.

We work with these sectors to tailor forecasts and warnings. This helps them prepare when space weather may impact their equipment and operations.

More project details

For the location, status and timing of all of our current observation network projects, see our Current projects page.