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Session B3: Atmospheric Effects

Effects of Equatorial Ionospheric Scintillations on GPS Positioning with Magnetic-Field-Aligned Signal Propagation
Zhe Yang and Y. Jade Morton, Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department, University of Colorado, Boulder
Location: Pavilion Ballroom West
Alternate Number 4

Ionospheric scintillation is primarily an equatorial and high-latitude phenomenon and has become one major concern in the community of Global Positioning System (GPS). Intense scintillations can induce cycle slips and losses of lock in GPS receivers, ultimately causing severe degradation or even failures of positioning, navigation and timing solutions.
In this paper, we present equatorial scintillation effects on GPS positioning in the context of intense scintillations observed with signal path alignment with magnetic field orientation. Our recent study of a typical low-latitude region suggests that both intensity and occurrence of scintillations increase when the signal path is aligned with magnetic field lines, because of the field-aligned configuration of scintillation-producing ionospheric irregularities. The objective of this study is to identify the magnetic field orientation control of intense scintillations over equatorial and low-latitude regions and their effects on GPS positioning solutions.
Multiple GPS ionospheric scintillation monitors are utilized. They are installed at locations extending from the magnetic equator to equatorial ionization anomaly crests. By their observations, we first characterize the occurrences of equatorial scintillations for the signal path propagations aligned with magnetic field lines. Then, their effects on GPS positioning are quantified by examining geometrical dilution of precision (GDOP) in addition to position solutions. The results obtained from this study will support development of forecasting techniques to predict scintillation induced GNSS PVT errors in equatorial regions.



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