Relationship between Plasma Density Gradients and Swarm GPS Data

A. Faehn Follestad, L.B.N. Clausen, W.J. Miloch, Jose van den IJssel

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


GPS signals are subject to disturbances in the polar regions, caused in part by clouds of high density plasma (polar cap patches). For the Swarm satellites, this noise results in positioning errors in the order of centimeters. In this study, we use data from the GPS receiver and compare it to in situ density gradient data from the Langmuir probes. 65 We find that when GPS satellites are in front (azimuth φ=0±20°) of the Swarm, there is a direct proportionality between the density gradient dn/ds and the GPS observable dL4/dt. The same is true for when GPS satellites are positioned behind the Swarm satellite (azimuth φ=180±20°).Our results suggest that dL4/dt measurements from any satellite can be used to extrapolate the distribution of the plasma density gradient in the surrounding volume of the satellite, so that plasma density gradients can be detected from GPS receiver data alone.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event4th Swarm Science Meeting & Geodetic Missions Workshop - Banff, Canada
Duration: 20 Mar 201724 Mar 2017
Conference number: 4


Conference4th Swarm Science Meeting & Geodetic Missions Workshop
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship between Plasma Density Gradients and Swarm GPS Data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this