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Authors: Pignalberi, A.* 
Pezzopane, Michael* 
Rizzi, R.* 
Title: Modeling the Lower Part of the Topside Ionospheric Vertical Electron Density Profile Over the European Region by Means of Swarm Satellites Data and IRI UP Method
Issue Date: Mar-2018
Series/Report no.: /16 (2018)
DOI: 10.1002/2017SW001790
Abstract: An empirical method to model the lower part of the ionospheric topside region from the F2 layer peak height to about 500–600 km of altitude over the European region is proposed. The method is based on electron density values recorded from December 2013 to June 2016 by Swarm satellites and on foF2 and hmF2 values provided by IRI UP (International Reference Ionosphere UPdate), which is a method developed to update the IRI model relying on the assimilation of foF2 and M(3000)F2 data routinely recorded by a network of European ionosonde stations. Topside effective scale heights are calculated by fitting some definite analytical functions (α-Chapman, β-Chapman, Epstein, and exponential) through the values recorded by Swarm and the ones output by IRI UP, with the assumption that the effective scale height is constant in the altitude range considered. Calculated effective scale heights are then modeled as a function of foF2 and hmF2, in order to be operationally applicable to both ionosonde measurements and ionospheric models, like IRI. The method produces two-dimensional grids of the median effective scale height binned as a function of foF2 and hmF2, for each of the considered topside profiles. A statistical comparison with Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate/FORMOsa SATellite-3 collected Radio Occultation profiles is carried out to assess the validity of the proposed method and to investigate which of the considered topside profiles is the best one. The α-Chapman topside function displays the best performance compared to the others and also when compared to the NeQuick topside option of IRI.
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