TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 52 (No. 11), pp. 1067-1071, 2000


The impact of geomagnetic substorms on GPS receiver performance

S. Skone and M. de Jong

Department of Geomatics Engineering, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4

(Received January 13, 2000; Revised August 12, 2000; Accepted September 25, 2000)

Abstract: During the current period of solar maximum, there is concern within the GPS community regarding GPS receiver performance during periods of intense geomagnetic substorms. Such storms are common in the high latitude auroral region, and are associated with small-scale scintillation effects, which can cause receiver tracking errors and loss of phase lock. The auroral oval can extend many degrees equatorward under active ionospheric conditions, with an impact on precise positioning applications in Canada, the United States and Northern Europe. In this paper, a study of receiver tracking performance is conducted during periods of auroral substorm activity. Dual frequency observations are obtained using codeless and semicodeless GPS receivers (Trimble 4000SSi, NovAtel MiLLennium and Ashtech Z-12), and performance comparisons are established and interpreted with respect to GPS availability at solar maximum and the years beyond.

Corresponding author E-mail: sskone@ensu.ucalgary.ca

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