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The first real-time worldwide ionospheric predictions network: an advance in support of spaceborne experimentation, on-line model validation, and space weather

Szuszczewicz, E. P., Blanchard, P., Wilkinson, P., Crowley, G., Fuller-Rowell, T., Richards, P., Abdu, M., Bullett, T., Hanbaba, R., Lebreton, J. P., Lester, M., Lockwood, M., Millward, G., Wild, M., Pulinets, S., Reddy, B. M., Stanislawska, I., Vannaroni, G. and Zolesi, B. (1998) The first real-time worldwide ionospheric predictions network: an advance in support of spaceborne experimentation, on-line model validation, and space weather. Geophysical Research Letters, 25 (4). pp. 449-452. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/97GL03279

Abstract/Summary

We report on the first realtime ionospheric predictions network and its capabilities to ingest a global database and forecast F-layer characteristics and "in situ" electron densities along the track of an orbiting spacecraft. A global network of ionosonde stations reported around-the-clock observations of F-region heights and densities, and an on-line library of models provided forecasting capabilities. Each model was tested against the incoming data; relative accuracies were intercompared to determine the best overall fit to the prevailing conditions; and the best-fit model was used to predict ionospheric conditions on an orbit-to-orbit basis for the 12-hour period following a twice-daily model test and validation procedure. It was found that the best-fit model often provided averaged (i.e., climatologically-based) accuracies better than 5% in predicting the heights and critical frequencies of the F-region peaks in the latitudinal domain of the TSS-1R flight path. There was a sharp contrast however, in model-measurement comparisons involving predictions of actual, unaveraged, along-track densities at the 295 km orbital altitude of TSS-1R In this case, extrema in the first-principle models varied by as much as an order of magnitude in density predictions, and the best-fit models were found to disagree with the "in situ" observations of Ne by as much as 140%. The discrepancies are interpreted as a manifestation of difficulties in accurately and self-consistently modeling the external controls of solar and magnetospheric inputs and the spatial and temporal variabilities in electric fields, thermospheric winds, plasmaspheric fluxes, and chemistry.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:38759
Additional Information:First published online 2012
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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