Articles | Volume 32, issue 10
Regular paper
28 Oct 2014
Regular paper |  | 28 Oct 2014

Validation of COSMIC ionospheric peak parameters by the measurements of an ionosonde chain in China

L. Hu, B. Ning, L. Liu, B. Zhao, G. Li, B. Wu, Z. Huang, X. Hao, S. Chang, and Z. Wu

Abstract. Although the electron density profiles (EDPs) from Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) measurement have been validated by ionosonde data at a number of locations during the solar minimum period, the performance of COSMIC measurements at different latitudes has not been well evaluated, particularly during the solar maximum period. In this paper the COSMIC ionospheric peak parameters (peak electron density of the F region – NmF2; peak height of the F region – hmF2) are validated by the ionosonde data from an observation chain in China during the solar maximum period of 2011–2013. The validations show that the COSMIC measurement generally agrees well with the ionosonde observation. The error in NmF2 from COSMIC and ionosonde measurements varies with latitude. At midlatitude stations, the differences between COSMIC NmF2s and those of ionosondes are very slight. However, COSMIC NmF2 overestimates (underestimates) that of the ionosonde at the north (south) of the equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) crest. The relative errors of hmF2s are much lower than those of NmF2s at all stations, which indicates the EDP retrieval algorithm of the COSMIC measurement has a better performance in determining the ionospheric peak height. The root mean square errors (RMSEs) of NmF2s (hmF2s) are higher (lower) during the daytime than during the nighttime at all stations. Correlation analysis shows that the correlations for both NmF2s and hmF2s are comparably good (correlation coefficients > 0.9) at midlatitude stations, while correlations of NmF2 (correlation coefficients > 0.9) are higher than those of hmF2 (correlation coefficients > 0.8) at low-latitude stations.