Retrospect and prospect of ionospheric weather observed by FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC and FORMOSAT-7/COSMIC-2

Tiger Jann Yenq Liu, Charles Chien Hung Lin, Chi Yen Lin, I. Te Lee, Yang Yi Sun, Shih Ping Chen, Fu Yuan Chang, Panthalingal Krishnanunni Rajesh, Chih Ting Hsu, Tomoko Matsuo, Chia Hung Chen, Ho Fang Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC (F3/C) constellation of six micro-satellites was launched into the circular low-earth orbit at 800 km altitude with a 72-degree inclination angle on 15 April 2006, uniformly monitoring the ionosphere by the GPS (Global Positioning System) Radio Occultation (RO). Each F3/C satellite is equipped with a TIP (Tiny Ionospheric Photometer) observing 135.6 nm emissions and a TBB (Tri-Band Beacon) for conducting ionospheric tomography. More than 2000 RO profiles per day for the first time allows us globally studying three-dimensional ionospheric electron density structures and formation mechanisms of the equatorial ionization anomaly, middle-latitude trough, Weddell/Okhotsk Sea anomaly, etc. In addition, several new findings, such as plasma caves, plasma depletion bays, etc., have been reported. F3/C electron density profiles together with ground-based GPS total electron contents can be used to monitor, nowcast, and forecast ionospheric space weather. The S4 index of GPS signal scintillations recorded by F3/C is useful for ionospheric irregularities monitoring as well as for positioning, navigation, and communication applications. F3/C was officially decommissioned on 1 May 2020 and replaced by FORMOSAT-7/COSMIC-2 (F7/C2). F7/C2 constellation of six small satellites was launched into the circular low-Earth orbit at 550 km altitude with a 24-degree inclination angle on 25 June 2019. F7/C2 carries an advanced TGRS (Tri Gnss (global navigation satellite system) Radio occultation System) instrument, which tracks more than 4000 RO profiles per day. Each F7/C2 satellite also has a RFB (Radio Reference Beacon) on board for ionospheric tomography and an IVM (Ion Velocity Meter) for measuring ion temperature, velocity, and density. F7/C2 TGRS, IVM, and RFB shall continue to expand the F3/C success in the ionospheric space weather forecasting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalTerrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC
  • FORMOSAT-7/COSMIC-2
  • GNSS
  • Ionospheric weather
  • Radio occultation

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