Determination of the vertical electron-density profile in ionospheric tomography: experimental results
Abstract. The reconstruction of the vertical electron-density profile is a fundamental problem in ionospheric tomography. Lack of near-horizontal ray paths limits the information available on the vertical profile, so that the resultant image of electron density is biased in a horizontal sense. The vertical profile is of great importance as it affects the authenticity of the entire tomographic image. A new method is described whereby the vertical profile is selected using relative total-electron-content measurements. The new reconstruction process has been developed from modelling studies. A range of background ionospheres, representing many possible peak heights, scale heights and electron densities are formed from a Chapman profile on the bottomside with a range of topside profiles. The iterative reconstruction process is performed on all of these background ionospheres and a numerical selection criterion employed to select the final image. The resulting tomographic images show excellent agreement in electron density when compared with independent verification provided by the EISCAT radar.