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Authors: Pietrella, Marco* 
Pignalberi, Alessio* 
Pezzopane, Michael* 
Pignatelli, Alessandro* 
Azzarone, Adriano* 
Rizzi, Rolando* 
Title: A comparative study of ionospheric IRIEup and ISP assimilative models during some intense and severe geomagnetic storms
Issue Date: 15-May-2018
Series/Report no.: 10/61(2018)
DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2018.02.026
Keywords: electron density mapping
IRI model
Ionospheric ray tracing
Simulated quasi vertical ionograms
Subject Classification01.02. Ionosphere 
Abstract: Three-dimensional (3-D) electron density matrices, computed in the Mediterranean area by the IRI climatological model and IRIEup and ISP nowcasting models, during some intense and severe geomagnetic-ionospheric storms, were ingested by the ray tracing software tool IONORT, to synthesize quasi-vertical ionograms. IRIEup model was run in different operational modes: (1) assimilating validated autoscaled electron density profiles only from a limited area which, in our case, is the Mediterranean sector (IRIEup_re(V) mode); (2) assimilating electron density profiles from a larger region including several stations spread across Europe: (a) without taking care of validating the autoscaled data in the assimilation process (IRIEup(NV)); (b) validating carefully the autoscaled electron density profiles before their assimilation (IRIEup(V)). The comparative analysis was carried out comparing IRI, IRIEup_re(V), ISP, IRIEup(NV), and IRIEup(V) foF2 synthesized values, with corresponding foF2 measurements autoscaled by ARTIST, and then validated, at the truth sites of Roquetes (40.80°N, 0.50°E, Spain), San Vito (40.60°N, 17.80°E, Italy), Athens (38.00°N, 23.50°E, Greece), and Nicosia, (35.03°N, 33.16°E, Cyprus). The outcomes demonstrate that: (1) IRIEup_re(V), performs better than ISP in the western Mediterranean (around Roquetes); (2) ISP performs slightly better than IRIEup_re(V) in the central part of Mediterranean (around Athens and San Vito); (3) ISP performance is better than the IRIEup_re(V) one in the eastern Mediterranean (around Nicosia); (4) IRIEup(NV) performance is worse than the IRIEup (V) one; (5) in the central Mediterranean area, IRIEup(V) performance is better than the IRIEup_re(V) one, and it is practically the same for the western and eastern sectors. Concerning the overall performance, nowcasting models proved to be considerably more reliable than the climatological IRI model to represent the ionosphere behaviour during geomagnetic-ionospheric storm conditions; ISP and IRIEup(V) provided the best performance, but neither of them has clearly prevailed over the other one.
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