Performance assessment of GPS receivers during the September 24, 2011 solar radio burst event

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Abstract

The sudden outburst of in-band solar radio noise from the Sun is recognized as one of the potential Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) sources that directly impact the performance of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers. On September 24, 2011, the solar active region 1302 unleashed a moderate M7.1 soft X-ray flare associated with a very powerful radio burst at 1415 MHz. The Solar Radio Burst (SRB) event spanned over three distinct episodes of solar radio noise emission that reached the maximum radio flux density of 114,144 Solar Flux Units (SFU) at 13:04:46 UTC. This paper analyzes the impact of September 24, 2011 SRB event on the performance of a significant subset of NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers located in the sunlit hemisphere. The performance assessment is carried out in terms of Carrier-to-Noise power spectral density ratio (C/N<inf>0</inf>) degradation, dual-frequency pseudorange measurements availability, pseudorange residual errors, and dual-frequency positioning errors in the horizontal and vertical dimensions. We observed that during the SRB event the GPS C/N<inf>0</inf> is reduced at most by 13 dB on L1 and 24 dB on L2. The C/N<inf>0</inf> degradation caused the loss of lock on GPS L1 and L2 signals and significant code-tracking errors. We noticed that many stations experienced less than four satellite measurements, which are the minimum required number of measurements for position estimation. The deteriorated satellite-receiver geometry due to loss of signal lock and significant code-tracking errors during the solar radio burst event introduced large positioning errors in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions. Rise in vertical positioning error of 303 m and rise in horizontal positioning of 55 m could be noticed during the solar radio burst event.

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Muhammad, B., Alberti, V., Marassi, A., Cianca, E., & Messerotti, M. (2015). Performance assessment of GPS receivers during the September 24, 2011 solar radio burst event. Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate, 5. https://doi.org/10.1051/swsc/2015034

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