Ionosphere Monitoring and Prediction Center


Czech Republic 49.1°N, 14.1°E (Vertical Sounding Data supplied by Ionospheric observatory Pruhonice of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics ASCR)

The equivalent slab thickness is a measure of the width of the shape of the vertical electron density profile of the ionosphere. The equivalent slab thickness is defined by the ratio of the total electron content (TEC) and the peak electron density NmF2 of the ionosphere’s F2 layer, cf. Jakowski et al. (2008) and Gerzen et al. (2013). The peak electron density is provided every 15 min from the Pruhonice (PQ052) ionosonde station in near real-time. At the coordinates of the ionosonde station, the slab thickness is computed by means of NmF2 and the corresponding VTEC derived from DLR’s global TEC maps.

The shape of the vertical electron density profile reflects the complexity of production, loss and transportation of plasma in the Earth’s ionosphere. A first order measure of the profile shape is the equivalent slab thickness. This ratio is very sensitive to the competition of plasma driving forces such as thermospheric winds and electric fields. Hence, this parameter is very helpful in exploring perturbation processes in the ionosphere.

URSI ID and coordinates of the ionosonde station used to calculate the equivalent slab thickness

Station (URSI ID)LocationLatitude/Longitude in degreeOperators
PQ052Pruhonice/ Czech Republic50.0°N /14.6°EIonospheric Observatory Pruhonice of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics ASCR

Product Specification

External partiesOperators of the ionosonde stations
Data providersPQ052
Input dataAuto-scaled foF2/NmF2 measurements and global TEC maps
Input sampling rates15 min foF2 measurements and corresponding global TEC maps
Reliability of data sourceThe quality of the used global TEC maps is assessed by the corresponding TEC error map and the ionospheric F2 layer characteristics are obtained from auto-scaling algorithms like ARTIST.
Region of sensorsEurope
Spatial resolutionComputation of local slab thickness parameters at the location of the ionosonde stations
Temporal resolution15 min
Time informationUTC Time
Reference coordinate systemECEF coordinate system with WGS84 reference ellipsoid
AlgorithmsSlab thickness is defined as quotient of TEC and NmF2
File formatASCII
ASCII file format
  • UTC time stamp and slab thickness in km
  • The value 9999 is given if necessary input data is incomplete

The equivalent slab thickness is based on the Global TEC map and Ionosonde data. The quality information of the Global TEC is available under the product menu.

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