Modeling of GPS total electron content over the African low-latitude region using empirical orthogonal functions
In this paper, an empirical total electron content (TEC) model and trends in the TEC over the African low-latitude region are presented. GPS-derived TEC data from Malindi, Kenya (geographic coordinates 40.194∘ E, 2.996∘ S), and global ionospheric maps (GIMs) were used. We employed an empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis method together with least-squares regression to model the TEC. The EOF-based TEC model was validated through comparisons with GIMs, the GPS-derived TEC and the TEC derived from the International Reference Ionosphere 2016 (IRI-2016) model for selected quiet and storm conditions. The single-station EOF-based TEC model over Malindi satisfactorily reproduced the known diurnal, semiannual and annual variations in the TEC. Comparison of the EOF-based TEC model results with the TEC derived from the IRI-2016 model showed that the EOF-based model predicted the TEC over Malindi with fewer errors than the IRI-2016. For the selected storms, the EOF-based TEC model simulated the storm time TEC response over Malindi better than the IRI-2016. In the case of the regional model, the EOF-based TEC model was able to reproduce the TEC characteristics in the equatorial ionization anomaly region. The EOF-based TEC model was then used as a background for estimating TEC trends. A latitudinal dependence in the trends was observed over the African low-latitude region.