The European Ionosonde Service: nowcasting and forecasting ionospheric conditions over Europe for the ESA Space Situational Awareness services
Institute of Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, Metaxa and Vas. Pavlou
2 Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, “Acad. G. Bonchev” str., 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
3 Upper Atmosphere Physics Dept., Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Via di Vigna Murata 605, 00143 Rome, Italy
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 7 July 2015
The Earth’s ionosphere is a magnetoionic medium imbedded in a background neutral atmosphere, exhibiting very interesting refractive properties, including anisotropy, dispersion, and dissipation. As such, it poses a challenge for several radio systems that make use of signal transmission through all or some portion of the medium. It is important therefore to develop prediction systems able to inform the operators of such systems about the current state of the ionosphere, about the expected effects of forthcoming space weather disturbances and about support long-term planning of operations and data post-processing projects for improving modelling and mitigation techniques.
The European Space Agency (ESA) in the framework of the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Programme has supported the development of the European Ionosonde Service (EIS) that releases a set of products to characterise the bottomside and topside ionosphere over Europe. The Service is based on a set of prediction models driven by data from ground-based ionosondes and supportive data from satellites and spacecraft. The service monitors the foF2 and the electron density profile up to the height of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) at European middle and high latitudes and provides estimates for forthcoming disturbances mainly triggered by geo-effective Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). The model’s performance has been validated and based on these results, it was possible to issue together with the products, quality metrics characterizing the product’s reliability. The EIS products meet the requirements of various SSA service domains, especially the transionospheric radio link and the spacecraft operations. Currently, the service is freely available to all interested users, and access is possible upon registration.
© A. Belehaki et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2015
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