loading page

A new model for ionospheric total electron content: the impact of solar flux proxies and indices
  • +6
  • Larisa P. Goncharenko,
  • Cole A Tamburri,
  • W. Kent Tobiska,
  • Samuel Schonfeld,
  • Phillip C Chamberlin,
  • Thomas N. Woods,
  • Leonid Didkovsky,
  • Anthea J Coster,
  • Shun-Rong Zhang
Larisa P. Goncharenko
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Haystack Observatory

Corresponding Author:lpg@mit.edu

Author Profile
Cole A Tamburri
University of Colorado
Author Profile
W. Kent Tobiska
Space Environment Technologies
Author Profile
Samuel Schonfeld
Author Profile
Phillip C Chamberlin
University of Colorado, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
Author Profile
Thomas N. Woods
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
Author Profile
Leonid Didkovsky
University of Southern California
Author Profile
Anthea J Coster
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Haystack Observatory
Author Profile
Shun-Rong Zhang
MIT Haystack Observatory
Author Profile


We present a new high resolution empirical model for the ionospheric total electron content (TEC). TEC data are obtained from the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers with a 1 x 1 spatial resolution and 5 minute temporal resolution. The linear regression model is developed at 45N, 0E for the years 2000 - 2019 with 30 minute temporal resolution, unprecedented for typical empirical ionospheric models. The model describes dependency of TEC on solar flux, season, geomagnetic activity, and local time. Parameters describing solar and geomagnetic activity are evaluated. In particular, several options for solar flux input to the model are compared, including the traditionally used 10.7cm solar radio flux (F10.7), the Mg II core-to-wing ratio, and formulations of the solar extreme ultraviolet flux (EUV). Ultimately, the extreme ultraviolet flux presented by the Flare Irradiance Spectral Model, integrated from 0.05 to 105.05 nm, best represents the solar flux input to the model. TEC time delays to this solar parameter on the order of several days as well as seasonal modulation of the solar flux terms are included. The Ap_3 index and its history are used to reflect the influence of geomagnetic activity. The root mean squared error of the model (relative to the mean TEC observed in the 30-min window) is 1.9539 TECu. A validation of this model for the first three months of 2020 shows excellent agreement with data. The new model shows significant improvement over the International Reference Ionosphere 2016 (IRI-2016) when the two are compared during 2008 and 2012.
Feb 2021Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics volume 126 issue 2. 10.1029/2020JA028466