Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) have wide application in multiple sectors from daily life to industrial use. These sectors include navigation, timing, and positioning which all require a co..
Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) have wide application in multiple sectors from daily life to industrial use. These sectors include navigation, timing, and positioning which all require a constant stream of accurate data. One aspect of maintaining the accuracy involves a deep understanding of the ionosphere and how it affects radio signals. This project takes into account an element that might impact the ionosphere: thunderstorms and their high-altitude lightning. Structures created in the ionosphere can cause scintillations, but finding if thunderstorms could initiate these structures is the main goal. Scintillation refers to fluctuations in the phase and amplitude of GNSS signals. There are some forms of lightning, such as blue jets and sprites, that have the ability to reach the ionosphere. This high-altitude lighting is thought to mostly occur in the tropics because of favorable conditions, but it has been observed in other latitudes. Lightning is shown to reach and affect the upper atmosphere, but the effect this could have on satellite signals is still under review. To record relevant scintillations, GNSS receivers have been situated in Daytona Beach, FL and the weather has been monitored for thunderstorms around the area. Receiver data is then graphed and analyzed for significant scintillations during the times of thunderstorms. Lightning location and time is also overlaid on a map with the satellite location plotted to further prove possible correlation between GNSS scintillations and lighting strikes. An evident correlation between scintillation signals and lightning strikes has been observed, but more evidence is needed to confirm this lightning could be the cause of the scintillation.