Estimating the vertical electron density profile from an ionogram: On the passage from true to virtual heights via the target function method



[1] The paper describes a new simple method of calculation by which an artificial ionogram trace is obtained from a given vertical electron density profile. The method is discussed in terms of the target function method used by Autoscala to output a reliable estimation of the real vertical electron density profile associated to the recorded ionogram. This new approach solves the issue of the pole in the calculation of virtual height, and consequently eliminates all the divergence phenomena that sometimes characterized the artificial ionogram traces computed by Autoscala. In contrast to the POLAN procedure, the technique introduced in this paper to pass from true to virtual heights is not based on any arithmetical operation related to changes of integration variables. Since the target function method on which Autoscala is based requires that the passage from a vertical electron density profile to an artificial ionogram be repeated a very large number of times, this new calculation procedure is advantageous in terms of speeding up the associated processing time.