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Keywords:

  • ionospheric shell model

[1] Faraday rotation changes the polarization plane of linearly polarized microwaves which propagate through the ionosphere. To correct for ionospheric polarization error, it is necessary to have electron density profiles on a global scale that represent the ionosphere in real time. We use raytrace through the combined models of ionospheric conductivity and electron density (ICED), Bent, and Gallagher models (RIBG model) to specify the ionospheric conditions by ingesting the GPS data from observing stations that are as close as possible to the observation time and location of the space system for which the corrections are required. To accurately calculate Faraday rotation corrections, we also utilize the raytrace utility of the RIBG model instead of the normal shell model assumption for the ionosphere. We use WindSat data, which exhibits a wide range of orientations of the raypath and a high data rate of observations, to provide a realistic data set for analysis. The standard single-shell models at 350 and 400 km are studied along with a new three-shell model and compared with the raytrace method for computation time and accuracy. We have compared the Faraday results obtained with climatological (International Reference Ionosphere and RIBG) and physics-based (Global Assimilation of Ionospheric Measurements) ionospheric models. We also study the impact of limitations in the availability of GPS data on the accuracy of the Faraday rotation calculations.