J. Space Weather Space Clim.
Volume 13, 2023
|Number of page(s)||17|
|Published online||09 October 2023|
Statistical validation of ionospheric electron density profiles retrievals from GOES geosynchronous satellites
COSMIC Program Office, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80301, USA
2 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
3 Lockheed Martin Corporation, Denver, CO 80127, USA
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 31 August 2023
In this paper, we discuss a novel retrieval of ionospheric electron density profiles using the Radio Occultation (RO) technique applied to measurements captured by the Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers onboard two Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES). The GOES satellites operate at ~35,800 km altitude and are primarily weather satellites that operationally contribute continuous remote-sensing data for real-time weather forecasting, as well as near-Earth environment monitoring and Sun observations. The GPS receivers onboard GOES-16 and GOES-17 satellites can track GPS signals propagated through the Earth’s atmosphere, and although the receivers are primarily designed for navigation and station-keeping maneuvers, these GPS measurements that traverse the Earth’s atmosphere can be used to retrieve the ionospheric electron density profiles. This process poses a range of technical challenges. GOES RO links are different from the traditional low Earth orbit (LEO) RO geometry since the receiver is located in an orbit that is higher in altitude than the GPS constellation of transmitters. Additionally, the GPS receivers onboard GOES satellites provide only single-frequency GPS L1 observations and have clocks much less stable than those typically used for RO measurements. The geographical distribution of the retrieved GEO-based RO profiles was found to be uniquely constrained and repeatable based on the relative geostationary fixed positions in the Earth-Centered Earth Fixed reference frame with respect to the GPS constellation orbiting at lower altitude, and significantly different from the coverage patterns of LEO-based RO missions. We demonstrate the successful application of the proposed RO profiling technique with a statistically significant set of GPS observations from GOES-16 and GOES-17 satellites over several years of data collection. This enabled us to retrieve more than 10,000 ionospheric electron density profiles with a maximum altitude of up to 1000–2000 km, much higher than any existing LEO-based RO mission. We demonstrate good performance of GEO-based RO measurements for properly specifying the vertical distribution of ionospheric plasma density by comparing the profiles dataset from the GOES RO experiment with independent reference observations – ground-based ionosondes and LEO-based RO missions, as well as model simulation results provided by the empirical International Reference Ionosphere model. Over multiple years of observations, statistical analysis of discrepancies between the ionospheric F2 layer peak parameters (peak density and height) derived from geosynchronous GOES observations and reference measurements was conducted. This analysis reveals a very good agreement between GOES RO electron density profiles and independent types of measurements in both the F2 peak and the profile shape.
Key words: Ionospheric density / Electron density profiles / Radio occultation / GPS / Geostationary satellite
© I. Zakharenkova et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2023
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.