GPS Solutions

, 22:95 | Cite as

GPS availability and positioning issues when the signal paths are aligned with ionospheric plasma bubbles

  • Alison de O. MoraesEmail author
  • Bruno C. Vani
  • Emanoel Costa
  • Mangalathayil A. Abdu
  • Eurico R. de Paula
  • Jonas Sousasantos
  • João F. G. Monico
  • Biagio Forte
  • Patrícia Mara de Siqueira Negreti
  • Milton Hirokazu Shimabukuro
Original Article


The propagation paths of signals through equatorial ionospheric irregularities are analyzed by evaluating their effects on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning and availability. Based on observations during 32 days by a scintillation monitor at São José dos Campos, Brazil, it was noted that there is a dominance of enhanced scintillation events for Global Positioning System (GPS) ray paths aligned with the azimuth angle of 345° (geographic northwest). This azimuth corresponds to the magnetic meridian that has a large westward declination angle in the region (21.4ºW). Such results suggest that the enhanced scintillation events were associated with GPS signals that propagated through plasma bubbles aligned along the direction of the magnetic field. It will be shown that, under this alignment condition, the longer propagation path length through plasma bubbles can result in more severe scintillation cases and more losses of signal lock, as supported by proposed statistics of bit error probability and mean time between cycle slips. Additionally, large precise positioning errors are also related to these events, as demonstrated by precise point positioning experiments.


Ionospheric scintillation Fading distribution GPS availability 



This work is supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) under award number (INCT) 465648/2014-2 and FAPESP 2017/50115-0. B. C. Vani thanks Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Sao Paulo (IFSP) for supporting his Ph.D. research and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) for Grant (CAPES/PDSE no. 19-2016/Process n. 88881.134266/2016-01). M. A. Abdu acknowledges the CAPES support for a senior visiting professorship at ITA/DCTA. E. Costa is supported by CNPq award number (PQ) 309013/2016-0. E. R. de Paula is supported by CNPq award number (PQ) 310802/2015-6. J. Sousasantos acknowledge CAPES for the financial support. The monitoring stations were deployed in the context of Projects CIGALA/CALIBRA, funded by the European Commission (EC) in the framework of FP7-GALILEO-2009-GSA and FP7–GALILEO–2011–GSA–1a, respectively, and FAPESP Project Number 06/04008-2. The authors thank the reviewers for the insightful and constructive comments, which helped them in the development of a better paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison de O. Moraes
    • 1
    Email author return OK on get
  • Bruno C. Vani
    • 2
  • Emanoel Costa
    • 3
  • Mangalathayil A. Abdu
    • 4
  • Eurico R. de Paula
    • 5
  • Jonas Sousasantos
    • 6
  • João F. G. Monico
    • 7
  • Biagio Forte
    • 8
  • Patrícia Mara de Siqueira Negreti
    • 5
  • Milton Hirokazu Shimabukuro
    • 7
  1. 1.Instituto de Aeronáutica e EspaçoIAE/Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica, ITASão José dos CamposBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia de São Paulo, Campus Presidente Epitácio (IFSP-PEP)Presidente EpitácioBrazil
  3. 3.Centro de Estudos em TelecomunicaçõesPontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (CETUC/PUC-Rio)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.Instituto Tecnológico de AeronáuticaITA/Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, INPESão José dos CamposBrazil
  5. 5.Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, INPESão José dos CamposBrazil
  6. 6.Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica, ITASão José dos CamposBrazil
  7. 7.Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho, UNESPPresidente PrudenteBrazil
  8. 8.University of BathBathUK

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