Ionospheric effects in GNSS-reflectometry from space

Camps, Adriano; Park, Hyuk; Foti, Giuseppe; Gommenginger, Christine. 2016 Ionospheric effects in GNSS-reflectometry from space. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 9 (12). 5851-5861.

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Global navigation satellite systems-reflectometry (GNSS-R) is an emerging technique that uses navigation opportunistic signals as a multistatic radar. Most GNSS systems operate at L-band, which is affected by the ionosphere. At present, there is only a GNSS-R space-borne scatterometer on board the UK TechDemoSat-1, but in late 2016, NASA will launch the CYGNSS constellation, and in 2019, ESA will carry out the GEROS experiment on board the International Space Station. In GNSS-R, reflected signals are typically processed in open loop using a short coherent integration time (~1 ms), followed by long incoherent averaging (~1000 times, ~1 s) to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. In this study, the global ionospheric scintillation model is first used to evaluate the total electron content and the scintillation index S4. The ionospheric scintillation impact is then evaluated as a degradation of the signal-to-noise ratio, which can be used to assess the altimetry and scatterometry performance degradation in a generic GNSS-R mission. Since ionospheric scintillations are mostly produced by a layer of electron density irregularities at ~350 km height, underneath most LEO satellites, but closer to them than to the Earth's surface, intensity scintillations occur especially in the GNSS transmitter-to-ground transect, therefore, the impact is very similar in conventional and interferometric GNSS-R. Using UK TechDemoSat-1 data, signal-to-noise ratio fluctuations are computed and geo-located, finding that they occur in the open ocean along ~±20° from the geomagnetic equator where S4 exhibits a maximum, and in low wind speed regions, where reflected signals contain a non-negligible coherent component.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1939-1404
Additional Keywords: Global Positioning System, Spaceborne radar, Satellites, Radar measurements, Receivers, Altimetry
Date made live: 10 Feb 2017 14:47 +0 (UTC)

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