Articles | Volume 28, issue 1
ANGEO Communicates
21 Jan 2010
ANGEO Communicates |  | 21 Jan 2010

Error analysis of Abel retrieved electron density profiles from radio occultation measurements

X. Yue, W. S. Schreiner, J. Lei, S. V. Sokolovskiy, C. Rocken, D. C. Hunt, and Y.-H. Kuo

Abstract. This letter reports for the first time the simulated error distribution of radio occultation (RO) electron density profiles (EDPs) from the Abel inversion in a systematic way. Occultation events observed by the COSMIC satellites are simulated during the spring equinox of 2008 by calculating the integrated total electron content (TEC) along the COSMIC occultation paths with the "true" electron density from an empirical model. The retrieval errors are computed by comparing the retrieved EDPs with the "true" EDPs. The results show that the retrieved NmF2 and hmF2 are generally in good agreement with the true values, but the reliability of the retrieved electron density degrades in low latitude regions and at low altitudes. Specifically, the Abel retrieval method overestimates electron density to the north and south of the crests of the equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA), and introduces artificial plasma caves underneath the EIA crests. At lower altitudes (E- and F1-regions), it results in three pseudo peaks in daytime electron densities along the magnetic latitude and a pseudo trough in nighttime equatorial electron densities.