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A feasibility study into total electron content prediction using neural networks

by Habarulema, J. B.

Abstract (Summary)
Global Positioning System (GPS) networks provide an opportunity to study the dynamics and continuous changes in the ionosphere by supplementing ionospheric measurements which are usually obtained by various techniques such as ionosondes, incoherent scatter radars and satellites. Total electron content (TEC) is one of the physical quantities that can be derived from GPS data, and provides an indication of ionospheric variability. This thesis presents a feasibility study for the development of a Neural Network (NN) based model for the prediction of South African GPS derived TEC. The South African GPS receiver network is operated and maintained by the Chief Directorate Surveys and Mapping (CDSM) in Cape Town, South Africa. Three South African locations were identified and used in the development of an input space and NN architecture for the model. The input space includes the day number (seasonal variation), hour (diurnal variation), sunspot number (measure of the solar activity), and magnetic index(measure of the magnetic activity). An attempt to study the effects of solar wind on TEC variability was carried out using the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) data and it is recommended that more study be done using low altitude satellite data. An analysis was done by comparing predicted NN TEC with TEC values from the IRI2001 version of the International Reference Ionosphere (IRI), validating GPS TEC with ionosonde TEC (ITEC) and assessing the performance of the NN model during equinoxes and solstices. Results show that NNs predict GPS TEC more accurately than the IRI at South African GPS locations, but that more good quality GPS data is required before a truly representative empirical GPS TEC model can be released.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Rhodes University

School Location:South Africa

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:physics electronics

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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