Elvidge, Sean (2014)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Space weather can have a negative impact on a number of radio frequency (RF) systems, with mitigation by ionospheric and thermospheric modelling one approach to improving system performance. However, before a model can be adopted operationally its performance must be quantified. Taylor diagrams, which show a model’s standard deviation and correlation, have been extended to further illustrate the model’s bias, standard deviation of error and mean square error in comparison to observational data. By normalising the statistics, multiple parameters can be shown simultaneously for a number of models. Using these modified Taylor diagrams, the first known long term (one month) comparison of three model types – empirical, physics and data assimilation - has been performed. The data assimilation models performed best, offering a statistically significant improvement in performance. One physics model performed sufficiently well that it is a viable background model option in future data assimilation schemes. Finally, multi-model thermospheric ensembles (MMEs) have been constructed from which the thermospheric forecasts exhibited a reduced root mean square error compared to non-ensemble approaches. Using an equally weighted MME the reduction was 55% and using a mean square error weighted approach the reduction was 48%.
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