Daily harmonics of ionospheric total electron content from satellite altimetry

Ray, R. (2020), Daily harmonics of ionospheric total electron content from satellite altimetry, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 209, 105423, doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2020.105423.

Daily harmonics of the ionosphere’s total electron content (TEC) can be mapped using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), as recently accomplished by Lean and colleagues. Here those harmonics are determined (over oceans only) by tidal analysis of ionospheric path delay from dual-frequency radar altimetry. Data from TOPEX, Jason-1, and Jason-2 altimeters are used, with focus on periods of medium to high solar activity. Diurnal-band signals are aliased by the altimeter sampling, but TOPEX-Jason orbits were designed to achieve acceptable tidal aliasing. Altimeter maps reveal where corresponding GNSS-based maps are in error, generally near the geomagnetic equator where high-wavenumber features are overly smoothed. When ocean tides are deduced from single-frequency altimetry, a task that relies on accurate GNSS-based ionospheric path corrections, any TEC errors leak directly into the tide solutions. TEC errors near and west of the Weddell Sea are likely problematic for the CryoSat-2 mission.

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Research Program: 
Physical Oceanography Program (POP)
Earth Surface & Interior Program (ESI)