Radio Science

A near-real-time model-assisted ionosphere electron density retrieval method



[1] NeQuick is a three-dimensional and time-dependent quick run electron density model specifically designed for transionospheric propagation applications. It allows calculation of electron concentration values at any location in the ionosphere and the total electron content (TEC) along any ground station–to–satellite ray path. After specific adaptations, the model has been used to develop a near-real-time nontomographic electron density retrieval technique able to provide the electron density of the ionosphere above the geographic area of interest. The technique relies on the knowledge of the model driving parameter Az (ionization level) for the location considered. In the present study, the necessary Az values have been obtained through direct ingestion of Global Positioning System (GPS)–derived slant TEC data in two different ways: using data from a single GPS receiver and using data from multiple ground stations. Statistical comparisons between experimental and reconstructed slant TEC values and between experimental and retrieved maximum electron concentration values are shown.