Articles | Volume 27, issue 4
03 Apr 2009
 | 03 Apr 2009

The influence of geomagnetic storms on the estimation of GPS instrumental biases

W. Zhang, D. H. Zhang, and Z. Xiao

Abstract. An algorithm has been developed to derive the ionospheric total electron content (TEC) and to estimate the resulting instrumental biases in Global Positioning System (GPS) data from measurements made with a single receiver. The algorithm assumes that the TEC is identical at any point within a mesh and that the GPS instrumental biases do not vary within a day. We present some results obtained using the algorithm and a study of the characteristics of the instrumental biases during active geomagnetic periods. The deviations of the TEC during an ionospheric storm (induced by a geomagnetic storm), compared to the quiet ionosphere, typically result in severe fluctuations in the derived GPS instrumental biases. Based on the analysis of three ionospheric storm events, we conclude that different kinds of ionospheric storms have differing influences on the measured biases of GPS satellites and receivers. We find that the duration of severe ionospheric storms is the critical factor that adversely impacts the estimation of GPS instrumental biases. Large deviations in the TEC can produce inaccuracies in the estimation of GPS instrumental biases for the satellites that pass over the receiver during that period. We also present a semi quantitative analysis of the duration of the influence of the storm.