Analysis of different propagation models for the estimation of the topside ionosphere and plasmasphere with an ensemble Kalman filter

Gerzen, Tatjana; Minkwitz, David; Schmidt, Michael; Erdogan, Eren

The accuracy and availability of satellite-based applications, like Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning and remote sensing, crucially depend on the knowledge of the ionospheric electron density distribution. The tomography of the ionosphere is one of the major tools for providing links to specific ionospheric corrections and studying and monitoring physical processes in the ionosphere and plasmasphere. In this work, we apply an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) approach for the 4D electron density reconstruction of the topside ionosphere and plasmasphere, with the focus on the investigation of different propagation models, and compare them with the iterative reconstruction technique of simultaneous multiplicative column normalized method plus (SMARTinline-formula+). The slant total electron content (STEC) measurements of 11 low earth orbit (LEO) satellites are assimilated into the reconstructions. We conduct a case study on a global grid with altitudes between 430 and 20 200 km, for two periods of the year 2015, covering quiet to perturbed ionospheric conditions. Particularly the performance of the methods for estimating independent STEC and electron density measurements from the three Swarm satellites is analysed. The results indicate that the methods of EnKF, with exponential decay as the propagation model, and SMARTinline-formula+ perform best, providing, in summary, the lowest residuals.

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Gerzen, Tatjana / Minkwitz, David / Schmidt, Michael / et al: Analysis of different propagation models for the estimation of the topside ionosphere and plasmasphere with an ensemble Kalman filter. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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