Open Access

The impact of geomagnetic substorms on GPS receiver performance

Earth, Planets and Space201452:BF03352332

DOI: 10.1186/BF03352332

Received: 13 January 2000

Accepted: 25 September 2000

Published: 24 June 2014


During the current period of solar maximum, there is concern within the GPS community regarding GPS receiver performance during periods of intense geomagnetic substorms. Such storms are common in the high latitude auroral region, and are associated with small-scale scintillation effects, which can cause receiver tracking errors and loss of phase lock. The auroral oval can extend many degrees equatorward under active ionospheric conditions, with an impact on precise positioning applications in Canada, the United States and Northern Europe. In this paper, a study of receiver tracking performance is conducted during periods of auroral substorm activity. Dual frequency observations are obtained using codeless and semicodeless GPS receivers (Trimble 4000SSi, NovAtel MiLLennium and Ashtech Z-12), and performance comparisons are established and interpreted with respect to GPS availability at solar maximum and the years beyond.