Transionospheric Radio Link - Near-real-time Ionospheric Scintillation Maps
Near-real-time local scintillation measurements from Neustrelitz station,
provided byIonosphere Monitoring and Prediction Center (IMPC), DLR.
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:
- Ionosphere Monitoring and Prediction Center (IMPC) provided by the German Aerospace Center (DLR);
- Real-Time Ionosphere Monitor (RTIM) provided by the Norwegian Mapping Authority (NMA);
- Ionospheric Scintillation Monitoring (ISM) developed by Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS) and IEEA;
This service page is curated by the ESC Ionospheric Weather. For further information, please contact SSCC Helpdesk.
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 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.
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.
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.
For further information, please contact SSCC Helpdesk.
The following products are associated with this service:
Nowcast of Scintillation Indices
- Local scintillation indices S4 & σφ Kiruna
- Local scintillation indices S4 & σφ Neustrelitz
- Local scintillation indices S4 & σφ Svalbard
- Local scintillation indices S4 & σφ Tenerife
- Local scintillation indices S4 & σφ Toulouse
- S4 maps (Northern Europe)
- σφ maps (Northern Europe)
- S4 and Err(S4) nowcast modelled maps
- SigmaPhi and Err(SigmaPhi) nowcast modelled maps
- S4 and Err(S4) nowcast modelled values at a given location
- SigmaPhi and Err(SigmaPhi) nowcast modelled values at a given location
Forecast of Scintillation Indices
- S4 and Err(S4) 6-hour forecast modelled maps
- SigmaPhi and Err(SigmaPhi) 6-hour forecast modelled maps
- S4 and Err(S4) 6h forecast modelled values at a given location
- SigmaPhi and Err(SigmaPhi) 6h forecast modelled values at a given location
Other Ionosphere Nowcast
Other Ionosphere Forecast
Solar Data Nowcast
Solar Data Forecast
- FLARECAST Solar flare forecast
- FLARECAST Solar flare forecast
- A-EFFort Solar flare forecast
- A-EFFort Solar flare forecast
- SIDC Latest Solar flare forecast
- SIDC Solar flare forecast archive
- SIDC Latest daily space weather bulletin
- SIDC Daily space weather bulletin archive
- UKMO Latest Solar flare forecast
- SIDC Latest 10.7cm Solar radio flux (F10.7) forecast
- SIDC 10.7cm Solar radio flux (F10.7) forecast archive
- F10.7 Index Forecast 27-day/BGS
- F10.7 Index Forecast multi-year
- F10.7 Index Forecast 27-day/SWPC
- F10.7 Index Forecast 45-day
- F10.7 Index Forecast 30-day Absolute
- F10.7 Index Forecast 30-day Adjusted
Geomagnetic Indices, nowcast
- Magnetogrammes from North(West) Europe and Greenland
- Real-time and historic geomagnetic activity plots and data files for geomagnetic surveying (total field)
- Real-time and historic geomagnetic activity plots and data files for directional drilling (total field, declination and inclination)
Geomagnetic Indices, forecast
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
- Space Weather Application Service - Ionosphere (SWACI), one of the first prototypes for a near-real-time ionosphere data service in Europe, has been established in 2005 by the German Aerospace Center. It is currently transferred into the operational service Ionosphere Monitoring and Prediction Center (IMPC)
- ECSS-E-ST-10-04C Rev.1 Space environment (15 June 2020)
- N. Hlubek et al.(2014): Scintillations of the GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo signals at equatorial latitude, J. Space Weather Space Clim., vol. 4, A22, doi: 10.1051/swsc/2014020
- S. Basu and S. Basu (1989): Scintillation Techniques for probing ionospheric irregularities in World Ionosphere/ Thermosphere Study, WITS handbook edited by C. H. Liu, Vol. 2