Electron number density profiles derived from radio occultation on the CASSIOPE spacecraft

E. B. Shume, P. Vergados, A. Komjathy, R. B. Langley, Tibor Durgonics

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This paper presents electron number density profiles derived from high resolution Global Positioning System (GPS) radio occultation (RO) observations performed using the Enhanced Polar Outflow Probe (e-POP) payload on the high inclination CAScade, Smallsat and IOnospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE) spacecraft. We have developed and applied a novel inverse Abel transform algorithm on high rate RO total electron content (TEC) measurements performed along GPS to CASSIOPE radio links to recover electron density profiles. The high resolution density profiles inferred from the CASSIOPE RO are: (1) in very good agreement with density profiles estimated from ionosonde data, measured over nearby stations to the latitude and longitude of the RO tangent points, (2) in good agreement with density profiles inferred from GPS RO measured by the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC), and (3) in general agreement with density profiles estimated using the International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) climatological model. Using both CASSIOPE and COSMIC RO observations, we identify, for the first time, that there exist differences in the characteristics of the electron number density profiles retrieved over landmasses and oceans. The density profiles over oceans exhibit wide-spread values and scale heights compared to density profiles over landmasses. We provide an explanation for the ocean-landmass discrepancy in terms of the unique wave coupling mechanisms operating over oceans and landmasses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRadio Science
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1190–1199
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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