A local mechanism for strong ionospheric effects on radio occultation (RO) global positioning satellite system (GPS) signals is described. Peculiar zones centered at the critical points (the tangent points) in the ionosphere, where the gradient of the electron density is perpendicular to the RO ray trajectory, strongly influence the amplitude and phase of RO signals. It follows from the analytical model of local ionospheric effects that the positions of the critical points depend on the RO geometry and the structure of the ionospheric disturbances. Centers of strong ionospheric influence on RO signals can exist, for example, in the sporadic E-layers, which are inclined by 3-6° relative to the local horizontal direction. Also, intense F2 layer irregularities can contribute to the RO signal variations. A classification of the ionospheric influence on the GPS RO signals is introduced using the amplitude data, which indicates different mechanisms (local, diffraction, etc.) for radio waves propagation. The existence of regular mechanisms (e.g., local mechanism) indicates a potential for separating the regular and random parts in the ionospheric influence on the RO signals.