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A-CHAIM: Near-Real-Time Data Assimilation of the High Latitude Ionosphere with a Particle Filter
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  • Benjamin Reid,
  • David R. Themens,
  • Anthony Mark McCaffrey,
  • P. T. Jayachandran,
  • Magnar Gullikstad Johnsen,
  • Thomas Ulich
Benjamin Reid
University of New Brunswick

Corresponding Author:breid.phys@gmail.com

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David R. Themens
University of Birmingham
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Anthony Mark McCaffrey
University of New Brunswick
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P. T. Jayachandran
University of New Brunswick
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Magnar Gullikstad Johnsen
UiT the Arctic University of Norway
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Thomas Ulich
University of Oulu
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The Assimilative Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Model (A-CHAIM) is an operational ionospheric data assimilation model that provides a 3D representation of the high latitude ionosphere in Near-Real-Time (NRT). A-CHAIM uses low-latency observations slant Total Electron Content (sTEC) from ground-based Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers, ionosondes, and vertical TEC from the JASON-3 altimeter satellite to produce an updated electron density model above $45^o$ geomagnetic latitude. A-CHAIM is the first operational use of a particle filter data assimilation for space environment modeling, to account for the nonlinear nature of sTEC observations. The large number (>10^4) of simultaneous observations creates significant problems with particle weight degeneracy, which is addressed by combining measurements to form new composite observables. The performance of A-CHAIM is assessed by comparing the model outputs to unassimilated ionosonde observations, as well as to in-situ electron density observations from the SWARM and DMSP satellites. During moderately disturbed conditions from September 21st, 2021 through September 29th, 2021, A-CHAIM demonstrates a 40% to 50% reduction in error relative to the background model in the F2-layer critical frequency (foF2) at midlatitude and auroral reference stations, and little change at higher latitudes. The height of the F2-layer (hmF2) shows a small 5% to 15% improvement at all latitudes. In the topside, A-CHAIM demonstrates a 15% to 20% reduction in error for the Swarm satellites, and a 23% to 28% reduction in error for the DMSP satellites. The reduction in error is distributed evenly over the assimilation region, including in data-sparse regions.