Ionospheric electron content: the European perspective

R. Leitinger

Abstract


The electron content of the ionosphere is an important quantity which indicates overall ionization. It is measured by means of propagation effects on radio signals which penetrate the ionosphere. In Europe relevant investigations started after the launch of the first artificial satellites. Soon the necessity arose to organize international cooperation: the regional as well as the global geographical distribution of ionization parameters is important knowledge for any meaningful geophysical interpretation of ionization parameters. Despite the fact that international scientific Unions and Committees existed and had proven their usefulness and potential, private initiatives were taken to organize cooperation in the field of research based on transionospheric propagation effects. Only in 1971 three international groups joined together to form the "Beacon Satellite Group"as a "Working Party" of COSPAR. The "Beacon Satellite Group" still exists but is now a Working Group of URSI, the International Union for Radio Science. This contribution tries to summarize the European perspective with special emphasis on the long standing cooperation between the Istituto di Ricerca sulle Onde Elettromagnetiche (IROE) at Firenze and the Institut für Meteorologie und Geophysik of the University of Graz. Examples are given of important results.

Keywords


upper atmosphere;ionosphere;electron content

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References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3816
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X