Application of computerized tomography to the investigation of ionospheric structures


  • T. D. Raymund,

  • J. R. Austen,

  • S. J. Franke,

  • C. H. Liu,

  • J. A. Klobuchar,

  • J. Stalker


Ionospheric total electron content (TEC) measurements, obtained simultaneously at several locations, can be processed using computerized tomography (CT) algorithms to obtain two-dimensional images of ionospheric electron density. Using TEC data, computerized ionospheric tomography (CIT) reconstructs an image of the electron density structures in a vertical slice above the receiving stations. We successfully applied this technique to realistic simulations of ionospheric density variations over 16° of latitude and a height range of 50 to 1000 km. A method for approximating the peak height and scale height of the electron density profile will be discussed as well as a reconstruction technique based on the multiplicative algebraic reconstruction technique algorithm and a back projection based initial guess. The quality of reconstructions is considered for two geometries and image resolutions. In particular, the image of a mid-latitude trough with background horizontal density gradient and large-scale irregular structures has been reconstructed from TEC data generated from a model based on an incoherent scatter radar observation. The CT reconstructed image was compared with the original contour map obtained by the incoherent scatter radar. Good agreement has been achieved. The CIT technique has also been applied to a modeled ionosphere to calculate the range rate corrections for a Doppler-tracking radar.