Swarm Langmuir probes' data quality validation and future improvements

Filomena Catapano*, Stephan Buchert, Enkelejda Qamili, Thomas Nilsson, Jerome Bouffard, Christian Siemes, Igino Coco, Raffaella D'Amicis, Lars Tøffner-Clausen, Lorenzo Trenchi, Poul Erik Holmdahl Olsen, Anja Stromme

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


Swarm is the European Space Agency (ESA)'s first Earth observation constellation mission, which was launched in 2013 to study the geomagnetic field and its temporal evolution. Two Langmuir probes aboard each of the three Swarm satellites provide in situ measurements of plasma parameters, which contribute to the study of the ionospheric plasma dynamics. To maintain a high data quality for scientific and technical applications, the Swarm products are continuously monitored and validated via science-oriented diagnostics. This paper presents an overview of the data quality of the Swarm Langmuir probes' measurements. The data quality is assessed by analysing short and long data segments, where the latter are selected to be sufficiently long enough to consider the impact of the solar activity. Langmuir probe data have been validated through comparison with numerical models, other satellite missions, and ground observations. Based on the outcomes from quality control and validation activities conducted by ESA, as well as scientific analysis and feedback provided by the user community, the Swarm products are regularly upgraded. In this paper, we discuss the data quality improvements introduced with the latest baseline, and how the data quality is influenced by the solar cycle. In particular, plasma measurements are more accurate in day-side regions during high solar activity, while electron temperature measurements are more reliable during night side at middle and low latitudes during low solar activity. The main anomalies affecting the Langmuir probe measurements are described, as well as possible improvements in the derived plasma parameters to be implemented in future baselines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-162
Number of pages14
JournalGeoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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