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Authors: Pignalberi, Alessio* 
Pietrella, Marco* 
Pezzopane, Michael* 
Rizzi, Rolando* 
Title: Improvements and validation of the IRI UP method under moderate, strong, and severe geomagnetic storms
Issue Date: 19-Nov-2018
Series/Report no.: /70(2018)
DOI: 10.1186/s40623-018-0952-z
Keywords: IRI UP
Universal Kriging
Ionospheric data assimilation
Nowcasting maps
Subject Classification01.02. Ionosphere 
Abstract: This work describes several important improvements made to the International Reference Ionosphere UPdate (IRIUP) method, and a careful validation of its performances under disturbed conditions. The IRI UP method has been improved developing an algorithm capable to properly filter wrongly autoscaled ionosonde data to be assimilated, avoiding the use of these in the assimilation process. Furthermore, the preliminary quality check used to choose the variogram model in the Universal Kriging method has been replaced with a new quality check routine (NQCR), based on statistical tests carried out using the variables Q 1 , Q 2 , and cR, built on variogram’s residuals. NQCR objectively identifies the best variogram model from which to get more reliable effective indices maps to be ingested in the IRI model to obtain updated foF2 and hmF2 maps. IRI UP has been applied on 30 different time intervals, between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2016, characterized by moderate, strong, and severe geomagnetic conditions, over the European region. A statistical comparison between IRI UP and IRI at the truth sites located at Fairford (51.7°N, 1.5°W, UK) and San Vito (40.6°N, 17.8°E, Italy), for foF2 and hmF2, has been performed. From the statistical validation clearly emerges how IRI UP, for foF2, performs significantly better than IRI, for each of the 30 geomagnetic storms considered. Regarding hmF2, IRI UP performances are lower than those for foF2, although still better than IRI ones. In the light of the results achieved in this investigation, the IRI UP method represents an interesting approach to Space Weather forecast in the ionospheric domain.
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