Electon density profiles of the topside ionosphere

X. Huang, B. W. Reinisch, D. Bilitza, R. F. Benson

Abstract


The existing uncertainties about the electron density profiles in the topside ionosphere, i.e., in the height region from h m F 2 to ~ 2000 km, require the search for new data sources. The ISIS and Alouette topside sounder satellites from the sixties to the eighties recorded millions of ionograms but most were not analyzed in terms of electron density profiles. In recent years an effort started to digitize the analog recordings to prepare the ionograms for computerized analysis. As of November 2001 about 350 000 ionograms have been digitized from the original 7-track analog tapes. These data are available in binary and CDF format from the anonymous ftp site of the National Space Science Data Center. A search site and browse capabilities on CDAWeb assist the scientific usage of these data. All information and access links can be found at http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/space/isis/isis-status. html. This paper describes the ISIS data restoration effort and shows how the digital ionograms are automatically processed into electron density profiles from satellite orbit altitude (1400 km for ISIS-2) down to the F peak. Because of the large volume of data an automated processing algorithm is imperative. The TOPside Ionogram Scaler with True height algorithm TOPIST software developed for this task is successfully scaling ~ 70% of the ionograms. An «editing process» is available to manually scale the more difficult ionograms. The automated processing of the digitized ISIS ionograms is now underway, producing a much-needed database of topside electron density profiles for ionospheric modeling covering more than one solar cycle.

Keywords


ionograms;electron density profiles;satellite orbits altitude

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References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3481
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X