PD1.2 Ground-based Ionospheric Monitoring Capabilities from the Commercial Sector

Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 8:45 AM
4C-2 (Washington State Convention Center )
Geoff Crowley, Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates, Boulder, CO; and I. Azeem

Space weather refers to conditions in space (the Sun, solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere, or thermosphere) that can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems.  As the global community becomes ever more reliant on technology, the threats from space weather increase. Ionospheric variability and irregularities constitute a major category of space weather effects that need to be better characterized and understood. The SWAP (Space Weather Action Plan) is addressing these needs, including improved ionospheric specification. Because of the ionosphere’s critical impact on modern radio-based systems (such as communication, navigation, and surveillance) continuous monitoring on a global scale is essential. However, characterization, modeling, and imaging of ionospheric dynamics and disturbances suffer from too few ionospheric sensors. The full potential of ionospheric data assimilation codes is still not being realized because of the sparsity of ionospheric measurements. Consequently, the insufficient data acquisition is preventing the accurate reconstruction of ionospheric-electron density distributions. The commercial sector has developed a number of ground-based sensors for monitoring the ionosphere, including science-grade GPS receivers, HF sounders, digisondes, and visible and Infra-red All-Sky imagers. In this paper, we will review and discuss a number of commercial ionospheric instruments. We will present results from these instruments and discuss their potential role in providing critical data for ionospheric research, specification, and forecasting in the context of the SWAP.
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