Washington, June 10 : New research and monitoring systems are clarifying what happens to disruptive clouds of electrons and other electrically charged particles, known as ions, in the ionosphere, which might lead to regional predictions of reduced GPS (Global Positioning System) reliability and accuracy.
As scientists have long known, perplexing electrical activity in the upper atmospheric zone called the ionosphere can tamper with signals from GPS satellites.
One team of researchers has recently observed Earth's aurora, which is a prominent manifestation of ionospheric electrical activity, in the act of disrupting GPS equipment.
Other scientists have successfully tested a way to forecast GPS disturbances for marine users, with likely extension to users on land.
Some research groups are turning the tables and employing GPS receivers as tools with which to conduct basic research on the electrical-current structures of the ionosphere.
A report in the International Journal of Research and Applications, has summarized past research and operational developments regarding ionospheric effects on GPS, and discussed potential future improvements in the field.