Articles | Volume 31, issue 1
Regular paper
10 Jan 2013
Regular paper |  | 10 Jan 2013

Medium-scale 4-D ionospheric tomography using a dense GPS network

M. M. J. L. van de Kamp

Abstract. The ionosphere above Scandinavia in December 2006 is successfully imaged by 4-dimensional tomography using the software package MIDAS from the University of Bath. The method concentrates on medium-scale structures: between 100 km and 2000 km in horizontal size. The input consists of TEC measurements from the dense GPS network Geotrim in Finland. In order to ensure sufficient vertical resolution of the result, EISCAT incoherent scatter radar data from Tromsø are used as additional input to provide the vertical profile information.

The TEC offset of the measurements is unknown, but the inversion procedure is able to determine this automatically. This auto-calibration is shown to work well.

Comparisons with EISCAT radar results and with occultation results show that the inversion using EISCAT data for profile information is much better able to resolve vertical profiles of irregular structures than the inversion using built-in profiles. Still, with either method the intensities of irregular structures of sizes near the resolution (about 100 km horizontal size) can be underestimated. Also, the accuracy of the inversion worsens above areas where no receivers are available.

The ionosphere over Scandinavia in December 2006 often showed a dense E-layer in early morning hours, which generally disappeared during midday when a dense F-layer was present. On 14 December, a strong coronal mass ejection occurred, and many intense irregularities appeared in the ionosphere, which extended to high altitudes.