Sudden ionospheric delay decorrelation and its impact on the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)



[1] In the absence of selective availability, the ionosphere represents the largest source of positioning error for single-frequency users of the Global Positioning System (GPS). In differential GPS systems such as the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), vertical ionospheric delays are modeled at regularly spaced intervals in geographic latitude and longitude. The broadcast bound on the error at each of these points is designated the grid ionospheric vertical error (GIVE). Higher performance standards planned for future implementations of WAAS require a reduction in the magnitude of the GIVE broadcast under nominal conditions. Achieving this reduction depends upon a better understanding of the decorrelation of ionospheric delay, in both space and time. In this paper we focus on temporal decorrelation. We report a methodology for assessing the impact on WAAS posed by a sudden increase in the level of ionospheric disturbance. The methodology is based upon forming an estimate of the probability PD that a WAAS user will confront a sudden increase in the level of ionospheric disturbance following a period of relative calm. We have determined a limiting upper bound of PD to be 4 × 10−7, which lies well within the margin needed to meet WAAS integrity requirements.