EISCAT UK support group logo EISCAT HQ logo
Notes on the existing databases containing EISCAT data, and how to retrieve data from them.

Users wishing to find analysed EISCAT or ESR data have a number of options:

Summary Plots of Recent EISCAT Data

Can be found on the RAL EISCAT website, under the data tab, by clicking on the link labelled Summary Plots

The plots that you can find in this area are mainly those produced during the real-time analysis of the data, carried out at the radar site while the experiment is running. However if a data set is analysed at RAL, either because it has not been analysed in real-time at EISCAT, or because the experimenters need a modified analysis with different time integrations or fitting parameters, the summary plot produced as a result of this analysis will generally also be added to the web page.

The Madrigal Database

The madrigal database is a distributed database containing analysed data not just from EISCAT, but also from incoherent scatter radars all over the world and a variety of other upper atmosphere research instruments. The madrigal database is accessible via the web and is mirrored in a number of locations around the world. Example urls are:

  • EISCAT's implementation of madrigal
  • The madrigal database at Millstone Hill
  • There are also madrigal databases at the SRI International in California, Cornell University, Jicamarca, Wuhan Observatory and the Russian Institute of STP in Moscow.

    Madrigal offers the most complete holding of the EISCAT and ESR data, containing all the Common Programme data from recent years, along with much of the most recent Special Programme data, which is added provided that the experimenter has no objection. The EISCAT data holding on Madrigal becomes more patchy for the early years of EISCAT. Users may be more likely to find these data on the /data/eiscat/quick-look area at RAL (see below). Madrigal also holds data from the US incoherent scatter radars, Millstone Hill, Sondrestromfjord, Arecibo and Jicamarca.

    To extract data from the madrigal database, the user should take the "Access Data" option from the web page, and link to the "Database Inventory Form". When the form has been completed, the "List Selected Data" option produces a list of the data sets available, each of which has an associated link with the legend "Go". Clicking on the link gives a page offering the user the choice of examining a data summary, a flat file listing, plots, logs etc, or of downloading the data.

    Data downloaded from the madrigal database can be converted to "RAL NCAR" (rslt) format using a program described in Section 13.

    Note that the madrigal archive is a completely open database. There is no login procedure and no access and authentication control. Hence there is nothing to stop you looking at data to which you should not have access, such as recent Special Programme data which are reserved for the exclusive use of the responsible experimenters during the first year. The madrigal database works because its users respect the rules of the road. Please do the same !

    The madrigal database includes a "Tutorial" function that enables users to become more acquainted with the workings of the database and the data it contains. Users would be well advised to try this tutorial.

    The /data/eiscat/quick-look area

    This area is available on the clustered machines, and should be visible to all users. It contains all of the analysed data that we have at RAL, in RAL NCAR ("rslt") format. It is structured by year e.g. the sub-directories are 1981 to 2006 inclusive. The file names give the clue to the contents. The naming convention is:

    {start date}_{site name}_{experiment name}_{modulation}.rslt

    For example, 20020217_tro_tau2_ac.rslt contains alternating code data from the tau2 experiment run on the Tromsø UHF radar, starting on February 17 2002.

    Note that experiments can continue for several days, so if there appears to be no data from the day you are looking for, it is worth checking experiment files which started a few days before your chosen date. This can be done by using the command

    ncar identify {rslt file}

    This will return the start and end date and a list of the variables contained in the file with their maximum and minimum values.

    The /data/eiscat/quick-look area contains all of the analysed Common Programme data which we have at RAL. It also contains some analysed special programme data, which has been added by permission of the experimenter. If you want to look at analysed special programme data, remember that data less than one year old is reserved for the use of the experimenter. Special programme data older than one year have the same status as Common Programmes, but it is considered good practice to ask the experimenter concerned before using their data.

    The Grenoble EISCAT Database

    Is a subset of the French CDPP Plasma Physics Data Centre

    It contains a limited amount of data from some pre-renovation mainland Common Programmes, as well as data from a number of French Special Programmes. Software to download the data (in a proprietary binary format) and to read it into matlab can be accessed from the website.

    The CEDAR Database

    The CEDAR database contains a large amount of incoherent (and coherent) scatter data from around the world, including from the EISCAT mainland radars. There is very little data from the ESR, but the pre-renovation holding of mainland EISCAT data is reasonably extensive.

    One can browse plots on-line, but to actually download data it is necessary to register to use the facility and obtain a password.