The impact on a physics-based model of the Earth's polar ionosphere resulting from uncertainties in the alignment of two empirical models

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Robert Schunk, Kent Tobiska


This presentation discusses the difficulties associated with the simultaneous use of two specific empirical models when modeling the Earth's polar ionosphere. Empirical models are built from measured data sets and provide statistical representations of observed phenomena. In contrast, physics-based models are built from the underlying physics of observed phenomena and are used as theoretical representations. In this study, two empirical models were used to provide input that is required by a physics-based model of the Earth's polar ionosphere. However, there is uncertainty in how to align the two empirical models over the polar cap in a manner that adequately represents what is observed in nature. In this study it is shown that the uncertainty of aligning the two empirical models has a large impact on the physics-based model of the Earth's polar ionosphere. This study quantifies this impact and demonstrates the inadequacy of this procedure for forecasting applications.

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