Skip to content


  • Article
  • Open Access

Automatic scaling of F2-layer parameters from ionograms based on the empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of ionospheric electron density

Earth, Planets and Space200759:BF03352022

  • Received: 24 April 2006
  • Accepted: 29 July 2006
  • Published:


In this paper we apply a method based on empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis to automatically scale the F2-layer parameters obtained from ionograms. For a given location, the F layer’s height profiles of ionospheric electron density are represented as an EOF series with adjustable coefficients derived from the EOF analysis of electron density profiles obtained from the International Reference Ionosphere (IRI-2001) model or measured ionograms. By adjusting the coefficients of the series and combining image matching technique, we were able to construct a calculated trace that approximates as close as possible the observed ionogram F2 trace. The corresponding parameters are then known, including the critical frequency (foF2), peak height (hmF2) and maximum usable frequency [MUF(3000)F2] of the F2 layer. Polarization information is unnecessary; only an amplitude array is essential. Consequently, this method is universal and can be applied to many kinds of ionograms (even the film ionograms after an appropriate conversion of the information to the digital form from the film ionogram). To evaluate the acceptability of the obtained parameters, large numbers of foF2, hmF2 and MUF(3000)F2 values from the manually scaled ionograms at Wuhan (114.4°E, 30.5°N), China are compared with those from automatically scaled ionograms by the Automatic Real Time Ionogram Scaler with True height (ARTIST) and our method. The results indicate that the scaled parameters are acceptable and stable.

Key words

  • Ionogram
  • automatic scaling
  • electron density profile
  • EOF analysis