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Ionospheric Plasma IRregularities characterised by the Swarm satellites


The Ionospheric Plasma IRregularities characterised by the Swarm satellites (IPIR) is a project in response to the Swarm DISC (Data, Innovation and Science Cluster) ITT 1.4 "Ionospheric irregularities and fluctuations based on Swarm data".

Ionospheric plasma is often characterised by irregularities and fluctuations in its density. They are the result of various plasma instabilities, reflecting complex interactions in the near-Earth space environment. Plasma density irregularities and fluctuations can influence the propagation of trans-ionospheric radio waves and are of importance for ground based operations that rely on precise positioning with Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Understanding ionospheric plasma irregularities and fluctuations is of both scientific and practical interest.

The IPIR project aims to develop a high-level, global product based on Swarm measurements that will characterise ionospheric irregularities and fluctuations, and address the needs of the scientific community and operational users. The product will provide characteristics of plasma density structures in the ionosphere and will assign them to predominant plasma processes and regions in the ionosphere. This result will open possibilities for extensive, global studies of plasma irregularities and fluctuations. IPIR will also provide an indication, in the form of a numerical value index, on their severity of the plasma fluctuations for the integrity of trans-ionospheric radio signals and hence the accuracy of GNSS precise positioning.


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More information about the IPIR project

Project duration: November 2017 - November 2018. Project funded by ESA via the Swarm DISC, Sub-Contract No. SW-CO-DTU-GS-114.