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Transionospheric Radio Link - Near-real-time Ionospheric Scintillation Maps


Near-real-time local scintillation measurements from Neustrelitz station, provided by Ionosphere Monitoring and Prediction Center (IMPC), German Aerospace Center.

Trans-ionospheric radio signals of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) like GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO may suffer from rapid and intensive fluctuations of their amplitude and phase caused by small-scale irregularities of the ionospheric plasma. This phenomenon, which is called radio scintillation, can strongly disturb or disrupt the signal transmission. For technical applications it is useful to derive and to provide the well accepted S4 and σΦ indices describing the amplitude/ intensity and the phase fluctuation of a received signal, respectively. For that purpose GNSS high-rate receivers in Europe provide necessary receiver-satellite-link specific amplitude and phase information.

This service provides near-real-time local scintillation data as well as regional and global maps. Additionally, solar and geomagnetic indices are provided, applicable for forecast or background models.

This service is implemented through a combination of products, tools and alerts which can be found through the following tabs along with expert support provided by the teams constituting the SWE Network. Should you require further guidance in the use of this service, or have specific questions about any aspects of the service presented here, don't hesitate to contact the Helpdesk.

The service is implemented through the following set of assets:

  • IMPC;
  • RTIM;
  • ISM.

This service page is curated by the ESC Ionospheric Weather. For further information, please contact SSCC Help-desk

Overview

Radio wave scintillations are an indicator for ionospheric irregularities in the electron density.

There exist different indices, providing a measure of the intensity and phase scintillation. During their passage of the ionosphere, radiowaves get disturbed and phase and amplitude fluctuations are measured at the ground. These amplitude and phase fluctuations of the recorded signal are statistically characterised by two major parameters, amplitude and phase scintillation indices, denoted respectively by S4 and σΦ.

Scintillation recording systems can be distinguished by total power recording systems and phase and amplitude scintillation recording from stationary satellites. Also multi-frequency beacon transmission is capable of extracting scintillation information.

Often, scintillation causes a degradation of system performance due to interruption of communication links (e.g. for GNSS applications) or degradation of radar systems.

Scintillation indices

Scintillation Index S4:

The amplitude scintillation index S4 is defined as the ratio of the standard deviation of signal intensity and the average signal intensity. Amplitude scintillations are prominent near the geomagnetic equator. They almost regularly appear in the evening hours.

Scintillation Index σΦ

The phase scintillation index is defined as the standard deviation of a linearly detrended phase data segment. High rate (>1 Hz) GNSS receivers are necessary to estimate reliant σΦ. Phase scintillations are prominent in high latitudes. Their occurrence rate increases with geomagnetic activity.

Application

Since scintillations are an indicator for the presence of irregularities of electron density in the ionosphere, the scintillation measurements are used to determine the spatial and temporal distribution of the ionospheric irregularities. Furthermore, it supports the investigation of the physical processes that contribute to the formation of such irregularities. The phase scintillation index is more useful for the purpose of estimating electron density irregularities.

Multi-frequency scintillation studies have provided guidelines for the design of communication systems.

Key Products

S4 and σΦ maps for northern Europe provided by RTIM

S4 and σΦ maps for northern Europe provided by RTIM are based on GNSS measurements from a network of high rate (≥50 Hz) GNSS receivers.

Local S4 and σΦ measurements at different latitudes provided by IMPC

S4 and σΦ measurements based on several GNSS high rate (50 Hz) receivers in Europe operated by DLR. The data includes the necessary receiver-satellite-link specific amplitude and phase information.

Ionosphere Scintillation Service (ISM)

ISM provides global nowcast S4 and σΦ maps based on numerous GNSS receivers (1 Hz) and a few high rate GNSS receivers (50 Hz). Furthermore, it provides forecast of S4 and σΦ maps up to 6 hours ahead. The forecasts are most reliant near the equator and less reliant in polar regions.

Other Ionosphere Nowcast and Forecast

The ionosphere products provided in the TIO/tcr and TIO/tcf services also contribute to this service. It is used to discuss scintillations in combination with ionospheric disturbances.

Contact

For further information, please contact SSCC Help-desk

The following products are associated with this service:

Nowcast and Forecast of Scintillation Indices

Scintillation Indices and Parameters
  • Local scintillation indices S4 & σφ Kiruna
     IMPC
  • Local scintillation indices S4 & σφ Neustrelitz
     IMPC
  • Local scintillation indices S4 & σφ Svalbard
     IMPC
  • Local scintillation indices S4 & σφ Tenerife
     IMPC
  • Local scintillation indices S4 & σφ Toulouse
     IMPC
  • S4 maps (Northern Europe)
     RTIM
  • σφ maps (Northern Europe)
     RTIM
  • SigmaPhi observed map as quality data for ISM SigmaPhi nowcast modelled maps
  • S4 and Err(S4) nowcast modelled maps
     ISM
  • SigmaPhi and Err(SigmaPhi) nowcast modelled maps
     ISM
  • S4 and Err(S4) 6-hour forecast modelled maps
     ISM
  • SigmaPhi and Err(SigmaPhi) 6-hour forecast modelled maps
     ISM
  • S4 and Err(S4) nowcast modelled values at a given location
     ISM
  • SigmaPhi and Err(SigmaPhi) nowcast modelled values at a given location
     ISM
  • S4 and Err(S4) 6h forecast modelled values at a given location
     ISM
  • SigmaPhi and Err(SigmaPhi) 6h forecast modelled values at a given location
     ISM
  • S4 observed map as quality data for ISM S4 nowcast modelled maps
  • ROTI maps for Europe
     IMPC

Other Ionosphere Nowcast and Forecast

Vertical Total Electron Content Map
  • TEC map (Europe), current
     IMPC
  • TEC map (Europe), 1hr forecast
     IMPC
  • TEC map (Global), current
     IMPC
  • TEC map (Global), 1hr forecast
     IMPC
  • VTEC maps (Northern Europe)
     RTIM
  • Near-real-time TEC maps for the European region
     EIS
  • IONMON TEC maps
     IONMON
  • TEC and Err(TEC) nowcast modelled maps
     ISM
  • TEC and Err(TEC) 6-hour forecast modelled maps
     ISM
  • TEC and Err(TEC) nowcast modelled values at a given location
     ISM
  • TEC and Err(TEC) 6h forecast modelled values at a given location
     ISM
3D Electron Density Grids
    URSI Ionospheric Parameters
    • European maps of foF2 long term predictions
       EIS
    • Nowcast European maps of foF2
       EIS
    • Maps of forecasted foF2 over Europe for the next 24 hours
       EIS
    • Forecasted foF2 values for the next 24 hours over each ionosonde
       EIS
    Riometer Data

      Solar Data Nowcast and Forecast

      Solar Flares
      • UGraz/KSO Solar flare detections
      • SIDC Solar flare forecast
      • UKMO Solar flare forecast
      • Flarecast Solar flare forecast
      • SIDC Daily space weather bulletin
      • A-EFFort Solar flare forecast
      Smoothed Sunspot Number (SSN, R12)
      • SIDC/SILSO Sunspot number forecast
      Solar Microwave Index (F10.7)
      • Nowcasts and Forecasts of Geomagnetic and Solar Indices
         FORIND
      • SIDC 10.7cm Solar radio flux (F10.7) forecast
      Solar X-ray Flux
      Solar EUV Integrated Flux
        Solar UV Flux

          Geomagnetic Indices

          Local External Magnetic Field on Ground
          • Magnetogrammes from North(west) Europe and Greenland
             TGO
          • Forecasts of dB/dt
             IRF
          • Real-time and historic geomagnetic activity plots and data files for geomagnetic surveying (total field)
             RESOSS
          • Real-time and historic geomagnetic activity plots and data files for directional drilling (total field, declination and inclination)
             RESOSS
          • LDiñ
             UAH
          • LCiñ
             UAH
          Local Geomagnetic Induced Geoelectric Field
          • Maps for power and pipeline operators
             FMI
          • Table of modelled GIC
             FMI
          • Pipe-to-soil voltage (PSV)
             FMI

          Tools associated with this service:

          SWE Data is a web application that provides access to a wide range of Space Weather related data sources covering the areas of the spacecraft, ionospheric, and ground effects. SWE Data allows the user to access all data contained in the repository providing analysis and visualisation tools from these disparate sources.

          No alerts are associated with this service.

          This section provides links to web pages or resources that are not part of the SSA Space Weather Network or esa.int domain. These sites are not under ESA control and therefore ESA is not responsible for any of the information or links that you may find there.

          Other European Ionosphere Services

          Reference documents