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NERC Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere (MST) Radar: stratospheric and tropospheric structure and dynamics observations, version 4.0

Update Frequency: Daily
Latest Data Update: 2023-06-19
Status: Ongoing
Online Status: ONLINE
Publication State: Published
Publication Date: 2017-08-17
Download Stats: last 12 months
Dataset Size: 5.55K Files | 7GB


The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere (MST) Radar is operated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at the Radar Facility's (MSTRF's) site in Capel Dewi, near Aberystwyth, Mid-Wales.

This dataset contains time-series of vertical profiles of derived atmospheric dynamics (wind speed, direction) and structure (indications of refractive index structures and turbulence) from observations taken from the 46.5 MHz pulsed Doppler radar. It is primarily used for making atmospheric observations over the approximate altitude range 2 - 20 km, i.e. of the free troposphere (above the boundary layer) and the lower stratosphere, known as the "ST-mode". Additional observations are made over the approximate altitude range 56 - 96 km, i.e. covering the mesosphere - known as the "M-mode" (see related dataset); hence the term "MST" radar.

The instrument has been in operation, using the Doppler Beam Swinging technique (see linked documentation for further details), since late 1989. It was initially operated on a campaign basis, but switched to quasi-continuous observations (i.e. close to 24-7 operation) in late 1997. In 2011 the radar system underwent renovation with significant improvements in radar performance.

The version 4.0 (v4.0) data processing scheme is closely related to the version 3 (v3) scheme and uses v3 Cartesian files as input. The main difference is that the horizontal wind components in the v4 Cardinal files represent time averages, which have a smaller random measurement error compared to the single cycle estimates in the v3 Cartesian files.

Data products available from the v4 Cardinal files include time-series profiles of:
- eastward wind
- northward wind
- upward wind
- (radar return) signal power (giving an indication of atmospheric structure) - also known as echo power
- (beam broadening) corrected spectral width (giving a measure of turbulence intensity)
- tropopause altitude and sharpness

A full list of variables will be added to this record in due course.

Quick look plots for these data are available - see related links under the "docs" tab below.

Note - some files are released marked as '-suspect'. These have been released to permit early access to the data where the majority of data are known to pass quality control, but a small, limited part of the data have been identified as being 'suspect'. An internal remark about the suspect data may be found within the file's metadata 'comments' attribute.

Citable as:  Natural Environment Research Council Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere Radar Facility at Aberystwyth; Hooper, D.A. (2017): NERC Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere (MST) Radar: stratospheric and tropospheric structure and dynamics observations, version 4.0. Centre for Environmental Data Analysis, date of citation.
Abbreviation: Not defined
Keywords: MST Radar, NERC, troposphere, stratosphere, wind speed, wind direction, profiles, echo power, turbulence


Previous Info:
No news update for this record
Previously used record identifiers:
No related previous identifiers.
Access rules:
Access to these data is available to any registered CEDA user. Please Login or Register for an account to gain access.
Use of these data is covered by the following licence: When using these data you must cite them correctly using the citation given on the CEDA Data Catalogue record.
Data lineage:

Data are acquired by the MST radar facility and sent to Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA) within an hour of acquisition. Data are then immediately ingested into the CEDA Archives.

Data Quality:
The MST radar data quality is described by D. A. Hooper, J. Nash, T. Oakley, and M. Turp. Validation of a new signal processing scheme for the MST radar at Aberystwyth. Ann. Geophys., 26(11):3253-3268, 2008. (available from here
File Format:
Data are NetCDF formatted.

Process overview

This dataset was generated by instruments deployed on platforms as listed below.
Output Description


  • long_name: Atmospheric Stability
  • gcmd_url:
  • gcmd_keyword: Atmospheric Stability
  • names:, Atmospheric Stability
  • long_name: Spectral Width
  • names: Spectral Width
  • long_name: Tropopause
  • gcmd_url:
  • gcmd_keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > Atmosphere > Altitude > Tropopause
  • names: EARTH SCIENCE > Atmosphere > Altitude > Tropopause,
  • long_name: Turbulence
  • gcmd_url:
  • gcmd_keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Winds > Turbulence
  • names:, EARTH SCIENCE > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Winds > Turbulence
  • long_name: U Zonal Windspeed
  • names: U Zonal Windspeed
  • long_name: Upper Level Winds
  • gcmd_url:
  • gcmd_keyword: Upper Level Winds
  • names:, Upper Level Winds
  • long_name: V Meridional Windspeed
  • names: V Meridional Windspeed
  • long_name: Vertical Wind Motion
  • gcmd_url:
  • gcmd_keyword: Vertical Wind Motion
  • names:, Vertical Wind Motion
  • long_name: Vertical Windspeed
  • names: Vertical Windspeed
  • long_name: Wind Direction
  • names: Wind Direction
  • long_name: Windspeed
  • names: Windspeed

Co-ordinate Variables

Temporal Range
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