Operational space weather service for GNSS precise positioning
Abstract. The ionospheric plasma can significantly influence the propagation of radio waves and the ionospheric disturbances are capable of causing range errors, rapid phase and amplitude fluctuations (radio scintillations) of satellite signals that may lead to degradation of the system performance, its accuracy and reliability. The cause of such disturbances should be sought in the processes originating in the Sun. Numerous studies on these phenomena have been already carried out at a broad international level, in order to measure/estimate these space weather induced effects, to forecast them, and to understand and mitigate their impact on present-day technological systems.
SWIPPA (Space Weather Impact on Precise Positioning Applications) is a pilot project jointly supported by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the European Space Agency (ESA). The project aims at establishing, operating, and evaluating a specific space-weather monitoring service that can possibly lead to improving current positioning applications based on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). This space weather service provides GNSS users with essential expert information delivered in the form of several products - maps of TEC values, TEC spatial and temporal gradients, alerts for ongoing/oncoming ionosphere disturbances, etc.