Articles | Volume 33, issue 8
Regular paper
31 Aug 2015
Regular paper |  | 31 Aug 2015

Tomography of the ionospheric electron density with geostatistical inversion

D. Minkwitz, K. G. van den Boogaart, T. Gerzen, and M. Hoque

Abstract. In relation to satellite applications like global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and remote sensing, the electron density distribution of the ionosphere has significant influence on trans-ionospheric radio signal propagation. In this paper, we develop a novel ionospheric tomography approach providing the estimation of the electron density's spatial covariance and based on a best linear unbiased estimator of the 3-D electron density. Therefore a non-stationary and anisotropic covariance model is set up and its parameters are determined within a maximum-likelihood approach incorporating GNSS total electron content measurements and the NeQuick model as background. As a first assessment this 3-D simple kriging approach is applied to a part of Europe. We illustrate the estimated covariance model revealing the different correlation lengths in latitude and longitude direction and its non-stationarity. Furthermore, we show promising improvements of the reconstructed electron densities compared to the background model through the validation of the ionosondes Rome, Italy (RO041), and Dourbes, Belgium (DB049), with electron density profiles for 1 day.