WAAS and the Ionosphere – A Historical Perspective: Monitoring Storms

Lawrence Sparks, Eric Altshuler, Nitin Pandya, Juan Blanch, and Todd Walter

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: Satellite-based augmentation systems ensure the accuracy and integrity of aircraft position estimates derived from radio signals broadcast by the Global Navigation Satellite System. The United States’ Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) protects users of the Global Positioning System from threats generated by ionospheric disturbances. The means by which WAAS mitigates these threats depends upon their magnitude. This paper addresses: a) how WAAS monitors the level of ionospheric perturbation over North America; b) how various availability and integrity concerns have influenced the implementation of WAAS’s extreme and moderate ionospheric storm detectors; c) how the algorithms governing these implementations have evolved since WAAS’s commissioning in 2003; and d) how the largest ionospheric storms of the past two solar cycles can be ranked according to their impact on WAAS. A subsequent companion paper will address the evolution of the WAAS methodology for protecting users from the adverse influence of more moderate ionospheric disturbances.
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Published in: NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 69, Number 1
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