Improvement of the ionospheric radio occultation retrievals by means of accurate global ionospheric maps
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European Commission's projectTechTIDE - Warning and Mitigation Technologies for Travelling Ionospheric Disturbances Effects (EC-H2020-776011)
The Abel inversion method is the classic approach to retrieve electron density profiles from radio occultation measurements, assuming that the electron density is only dependent upon height. In the early 2000s, the total electron content (TEC)-aided inversion method was introduced, where horizontal gradients in the electron density distribution are taken into account by using information from an external model of total electron content (TEC). We show how the quality of the chosen external ionospheric model influences the radio occultation retrievals. Using a two-layer TEC model, the 68% percentiles of the global error distributions of retrieved critical frequency and bottomside ionospheric electron content for 2014 improve more than 30%, with regard to the classic Abel inversion results. In a well-sounded region like Europe, this improvement raises to about 40–45%, while 10% improvement is achieved using two-layer maps with regard to the retrievals using single-layer TEC maps. We point out that using the TEC to describe the horizontal gradient incurs an implicit mismodeling that, until now, has not been taken into account. A new technique is presented that, thanks to TEC modeling by means of two layers, can assess the impacts of such mismodeling. From this technique, a method to select the most accurate radio occultation retrievals is applied to demonstrate that the resulting errors in the retrieved critical frequencies for the European region are smaller than 7% in nearly 82% of the cases, very similar to the relative difference between measurements of two nearby ionosondes.
CitationShao, Y. [et al.]. Improvement of the ionospheric radio occultation retrievals by means of accurate global ionospheric maps. "Journal of geophysical research: space physics", 22 Desembre 2018, vol. 123, núm. 12, p. 331-344.