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A High Latitude Model for the E Layer Dominated Ionosphere

Kamal, Sumon; Jakowski, Norbert; Hoque, Mohammed Mainul; Wickert, Jens

Under certain conditions, the ionization of the E layer can dominate over that of the F2 layer. This phenomenon is called the E layer dominated ionosphere (ELDI) and occurs mainly in the auroral regions. In the present work, we model the variation of the ELDI for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Our proposed Neustrelitz ELDI Event Model (NEEM) is an empirical, climatological model that describes ELDI characteristics by means of four submodels for selected model observables, considering the dependencies on appropriate model drivers. The observables include the occurrence probability of ELDI events and typical E layer parameters that are important to describe the propagation medium for High Frequency (HF) radio waves. The model drivers are the geomagnetic latitude, local time, day of year, solar activity and the convection electric field. During our investigation, we found clear trends for the model observables depending on the drivers, which can be well represented by parametric functions. In this regard, the submodel NEEM-N characterizes the peak electron density NmE of the E layer, while the submodels NEEM-H and NEEM-W describe the corresponding peak height hmE and the vertical width wvE of the E layer electron density profile, respectively. Furthermore, the submodel NEEM-P specifies the ELDI occurrence probability %ELDI. The dataset underlying our studies contains more than two million vertical electron density profiles covering a period of almost 13 years. These profiles were derived from ionospheric GPS radio occultation observations on board the six COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3 satellites (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate/Formosa Satellite Mission 3). We divided the dataset into a modeling dataset for determining the model coefficients and a test dataset for subsequent model validation. The normalized root mean square deviation (NRMS) between the original and the predicted model observables yields similar values across both datasets and both hemispheres. For NEEM-N, we obtain an NRMS varying between 36.1% and 47.1% and for NEEM-H, between 6.1% and 6.3%. In the case of NEEM-W, the NRMS varies between 38.5% and 41.1%, while it varies between 56.5% and 60.3% for NEEM-P. In summary, the proposed NEEM utilizes primary relationships with geophysical and solar wind observables, which are useful for describing ELDI occurrences and the associated changes of the E layer properties. In this manner, the NEEM paves the way for future prediction of the ELDI and of its characteristics in technical applications, especially from the fields of telecommunications and navigation.
Published in: Remote Sensing, 10.3390/rs13183769, MDPI