Evaluation of the TOPEX/POSEIDON dual-frequency ionosphere correction


  • David A. Imel


The NASA altimeter on board TOPEX/POSEIDON exploits the difference in the delays of the Ku and C band radar pulses to estimate an ionosphere correction to the range measurement. The dependence of the ionosphere correction on ocean and satellite parameters is less than 1 cm. The standard deviation of the 1-s averaged ionosphere correction depends on the height of the ocean waves and ranges from 5 to 14 mm. The accuracy of the ionosphere correction is better than 1 cm at the 1σ confidence level. The ionosphere correction should be averaged over 140 km (20 s) along track in order to minimize its noise without sacrificing its accuracy. Ionosphere models must achieve an independent sample spacing of 900 km or less in order to allow a single-frequency altimeter to have an ionosphere correction comparable in accuracy to that of the NASA dual-frequency altimeter.