ISACCO(Ionospheric Scintillations Arctic Campaign Coordinated Observations)

Updated 2005-03-15

The polar ionosphere is sensible to the enhancement of the electromagnetic radiation and energetic particles coming from the Sun expecially around a maximum of solar activity . Some typical phenomena can occur such as, among the others, geomagnetic storms, sub-storms and ionospheric irregularities. In this frame the high latitude ionosphere may become highly turbulent showing the presence of small-scale (from centimetres to meters) structures or irregularities imbedded in the large-scale (tens of kilometers) ambient ionosphere. These irregularities produce short term phase and amplitude fluctuations in the carrier of the radio waves which pass through them. These effects are commonly called Amplitude and Phase Ionospheric Scintillations that can affect the reliability of GPS navigational systems and satellite communications. The goal of this proposal is to contribute to the understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible of the ionospheric scintillations as well as to data collecting for nowcasting/forecasting purposes at high latitude. As the scarceness of polar observations, the specific site near Ny-Ålesund is of particular experimental interest.

Comments and additional information:

Specific objectives are: perform continuous and systematic measurements of TEC (Total Electron Content) and scintillation by Novatel GPS dual-frequency receiver with special firmware specifically configured to measure amplitude and phase scintillation from the L1 frequency GPS signals, and ionospheric TEC from the L1 and L2 frequency GPS signals. supply data for investigating ionospheric irregularities at high latitude, as well as to validate and to improve the existing scintillation models. investigate on TEC variability and scintillation events as function of solar-magnetic activity. investigate on a possible future network of permanent stations for monitoring ionospheric scintillation at northern and southern polar/auroral latitude. partecipate to international projects addressed to the impact of ionospheric scintillation on the EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System) and on the new European Galileo satellite navigation system, operational in 2006. promote these kind of researches by assigning thesis and fellowships post-university degree.

Time frame

Project time span
2003 - 2010
Data collection
2003 -
Data processing
2003 -
Data reporting
2003 -

Contact information

Contact person
Giorgiana De Franceschi
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia SEZ. RM2- UF UPPER ATMOSPHERE Via di Vigna Murata 605 00143 Rome Italy
Other project contacts

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

Two scintillation and TEC monitoring receivers closely spaced (sub-km) are working since September 2003 at Nyalesund(78.9N;11.9E). They provide true amplitude, single frequency carrier phase measurements and TEC measurements from up to 11 GPS satellites in view and can also track one SBAS (WAAS, EGNOS or MSAS) satellite, providing L1 measurements and data. The software automatically compute and log the amplitude scintillation index, S4, and phase scintillation index, sf, computed over 1, 3, 10, 30 and 60 seconds. In addition, TEC and TEC phase are each logged every 15 seconds. Phase and amplitude data, either in raw form or de-trended (to remove systematic variations), can also be logged at a 50-Hz rate.


Regions studied
Arctic, Circumpolar
Dirigibile Italia, Ny-Ålesund
Other areas
northern polar cap
Stations or areas where observations are made

Ionospheric scintillation and TEC monitoring is also performed by the Canadian GPS network for Ionosphere Monitoring (CANGIM)at Calgary (51.08N;114.13W), Athabaska (54.72N; 113.31W), Yellowknife (62.48N;114.48W). Since 2004 the University of Bath (UK) operates a number of Novatel GPS receivers for TEC and scintillation monitoring based at the sites of the European Incoherent Scatter (EISCAT) radar in Tromso (Norway), Kiruna (Sweden) and Sodankyla (Finland). Three receivers are closely spaced (sub-km) and the other three are far apart (hundreds of km) to monitor ionospheric scintillation on multiple scale length baselines.

Data availability

Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?

Methods & Procedures

Not specified

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
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