Inversions of radio occultation amplitude data


  • Sergey V. Sokolovskiy


Radio occultation remote sensing of the Earth's atmosphere consists of satellite-to-satellite observations of phase and amplitude of radio waves that propagate through the atmosphere. The observed excess phase along with the positions and velocities of the satellites are inverted into bending angle as a function of impact parameter and then into vertical profiles of refractivity, pressure, and temperature in the neutral atmosphere, or into electron density in the ionosphere. The retrieved profiles are assigned to the perigee points of the sounding rays. Amplitude data are normally not used, except when solving diffraction back propagation problems. In this paper a simple method to utilize amplitude radio occultation data is discussed. Equations based on geometric optics are considered for the inversion of an amplitude into bending angle. These inversions do not require high coherence of radio waves or precise orbit determination, as with phase inversions, but they do require precise calibration of the amplitude. Even though amplitude inversions are not so precise as phase inversions, they may still be useful for a number of applications. When compared to phase inversions they allow the optimization of the filter bandwidth for phase inversions, the detection of multipath propagation, and the localization of electron density irregularities in the ionosphere. These applications are demonstrated by processing of the Global Positioning System/Meteorology (GPS/MET) radio-occultation data collected onboard the satellite Microlab-1.