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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 734280, 15 pages
Research Article

Assessment of the Ionospheric and Tropospheric Effects in Location Errors of Data Collection Platforms in Equatorial Region during High and Low Solar Activity Periods

1Space Systems Division (DSE), National Institute for Space Research (INPE), 12227-010 São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil
2Space Mechanics and Control Division (DMC), National Institute for Space Research (INPE), 12227-010 São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil
3Centro de Engenharia, Modelagem e Ciências Sociais Aplicadas (CECS), Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC), 09210-170 Santo André, SP, Brazil

Received 15 August 2011; Accepted 3 November 2011

Academic Editor: Maria Zanardi

Copyright © 2012 Áurea Aparecida da Silva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The geographical locations of data collection platforms (DCP) in the Brazilian Environmental Data Collection System are obtained by processing Doppler shift measurements between satellites and DCP. When the signals travel from a DCP to a satellite crossing the terrestrial atmosphere, they are affected by the atmosphere layers, which generate a delay in the signal propagation, and cause errors in its final location coordinates computation. The signal propagation delay due to the atmospheric effects consists, essentially, of the ionospheric and tropospheric effects. This work provides an assessment of ionospheric effects using IRI and IONEX models and tropospheric delay compensation using climatic data provided by National Climatic Data Center. Two selected DCPs were used in this study in conjunction with SCD-2 satellite during high and low solar activity periods. Results show that the ionospheric effects on transmission delays are significant (about hundreds of meters) in equatorial region and should be considered to reduce DCP location errors, mainly in high solar activity periods, while in those due to tropospheric effects the zenith errors are about threemeters. Therefore it is shown that the platform location errors can be reduced when the ionospheric and tropospheric effects are properly considered.