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Radio wave scintillations in the ionosphere

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2 Author(s)
Kung Chie Yeh ; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL ; Chao-Han Liu

The phenomenon of scintillation of radio waves propagating through the ionosphere is reviewed in this paper. The emphasis is on propagational aspects, including both theoretical and experimental results. The review opens with a discussion of the motivation for stochastic formulation of the problem. Based on measurements from in-situ, radar, and propagation experiments, ionospheric irregularities ate found to be characterized, in general, by a power-law spectrum. While earlier measurements indicated a spectral index of about 4, there is recent evidence showing that the index may vary with the strength of the irregularity and possibly a two-component spectrum may exist with different spectral indices for large and small structures. Several scintillation theories including the Phase Screen, Rytov, and Parabolic Equation Method (PEM) are discussed next. Statistical parameters of the signal such as the average signal, scintillation index, rms phase fluctuations, correlation functions, power spectra, distributions, etc., are investigated. Effects of multiple scattering are discussed. Experimental results concerning irregularity structures and signal statics are presented. These results are compared with theoretical predictions. The agreements are shown to be satisfactory in a large measure. Next, the temporal behavior of a transionospheric radio signal is studied in terms of a two-frequency mutual coherence function and the temporal moments. Results including numerical simulations are discussed. Finally, some future efforts in ionospheric scintillation studies in the areas of transionospheric communication and space- and geophysics are recommended.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:70 ,  Issue: 4 )