Implications of Ionospheric Scintillation for GNSS Users in Northern Europe
Extensive ionospheric scintillation and Total Electron Content (TEC) data were collected by the Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy (IESSG) in Northern Europe during years of great impact of the solar maximum on GNSS users (2001–2003). The ionospheric TEC is responsible for range errors due to its time delay effect on transionospheric signals. Electron density irregularities in the ionosphere, occurring frequently during these years, are responsible for (phase and amplitude) fluctuations on GNSS signals, known as ionospheric scintillation. Since June 2001 four GPS Ionospheric Scintillation and TEC Monitor receivers (the NovAtel/AJ Systems GSV4004) have been deployed at stations in the UK and Norway, forming a Northern European network, covering geographic latitudes from 53° to 70° N approximately. These receivers compute and record GPS phase and amplitude scintillation parameters, as well as TEC and TEC variations. The project involved setting up the network and developing automated archiving and data analysis strategies, aiming to study the impact of scintillation on DGPS and EGNOS users, and on different GPS receiver technologies. In order to characterise scintillation and TEC variations over Northern Europe, as well as investigate correlation with geomagnetic activity, long-term statistical analyses were also produced. This paper summarises our findings, providing an overview of the potential implications of ionospheric scintillation for the GNSS user in Northern Europe.
Key Words: GNSS; Ionosphere; Scintillation; TEC.