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NOAA image of ionospheric measurement.Nov. 1, 2004 ó The NOAA Space Environment Center and NOAA National Geodetic Survey today release a new experimental ionosphere products to help emergency managers and other users quickly assess the effects of solar storms on Global Positioning System applications. (Click NOAA image for larger view of ionospheric measurement. Please credit “NOAA.”)

The SEC has created a near real-time ionospheric specification map of total electron content, or TEC, over the continental United States that updates every 15 minutes. The USTEC map will aid users affected by ionospheric conditions—GPS applications, surveyors, emergency managers, and others—to quickly assess the current situation that may impact their systems.

The ionosphere is the area of the Earth's atmosphere beginning at an altitude of about 30 miles and extending upwards to 10,000 miles. Free electrons slow and disrupt the GPS signal as it passes through the ionosphere.

"This map is the initial offering in an ongoing effort to provide improved products and services to a significant part of the SEC users community," said Ernest Hildner, director of the NOAA Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo.

Past maps and related source data will be available from the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center Web site.

This product results from contributions of the NOAA National Geodetic Survey, NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA Forecast Systems Lab and the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado.

The NGS also announce two new ionosphere models over the continental United States. These two highly accurate models (MAGIC and ICON-1) use the full set of Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) and provide ionospheric information between CORS stations and GPS satellites with a three-day delay. Thanks to these models, users will be able to more precisely compute positions from GPS.

Both MAGIC and ICON-1 are prototype models, part of ongoing research projects but are being made available free to the general public for testing and evaluation purposes.

Comments about the SEC test product can be sent to Rhonda Stewart at Questions or comments about the MAGIC model should be directed to Everett Dutton at Questions or comments about the ICON-1 model can be sent to Dru Smith at

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nationís coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Relevant Web Sites
Mapping the Ionosphere

NOAA Space Environment Center

NOAA National Geodetic Survey

Media Contacts:
Jana Goldman, NOAA Research, (301) 713-2483 ext. 181 or Carmeyia Gillis, NOAA Climate Prediction Center, (301) 763-8000 ext. 7163