Ionospheric electron density inversion for Global Navigation Satellite Systems radio occultation using aided Abel inversions

Min Yang Chou, Charles C.H. Lin, Ho Fang Tsai, Chi Yen Lin

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22 Scopus citations


The Abel inversion of ionospheric electron density profiles with the assumption of spherical symmetry applied for radio occultation soundings could introduce a greater systematic error or sometimes artifacts if the occultation rays trespass regions with larger horizontal gradients in electron density. The aided Abel inversions have been proposed by considering the asymmetry ratio derived from ionospheric total electron content (TEC) or peak density (NmF2) of reconstructed observation maps since knowledge of the horizontal asymmetry in ambient ionospheric density could mitigate the inversion error. Here we propose a new aided Abel inversion using three-dimensional time-dependent electron density (Ne) based on the climatological maps constructed from previous observations, as it has an advantage of providing altitudinal information on the horizontal asymmetry. Improvement of proposed Ne-aided Abel inversion and comparisons with electron density profiles inverted from the NmF2- and TEC-aided inversions are studied using observation system simulation experiments. Comparison results show that all three aided Abel inversions improve the ionospheric profiling by mitigating the artificial plasma caves and negative electron density in the daytime E region. The equatorial ionization anomaly crests in the F region become more distinct. The statistical results show that the Ne-aided Abel inversion has less mean and RMS error of error percentage above 250 km altitudes, and the performances for all aided Abel inversions are similar below 250 km altitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1386-1399
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • GNSS radio occultation
  • aided Abel inversion


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