Performance assessment of a low-complexity autoregressive Kalman filter for GNSS carrier tracking using real scintillation time series

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Ionospheric scintillation is one of the most challenging sources of errors in global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). It is an effect of space weather that introduces rapid amplitude and phase fluctuations to transionospheric signals and, as a result, it severely degrades the tracking performance of receivers, particularly carrier tracking. It can occur anywhere on the earth during intense solar activity, but the problem aggravates in equatorial and high-latitude regions, thus posing serious concerns to the widespread deployment of GNSS in those areas. One of the most promising approaches to address this problem is the use of Kalman filter-based techniques at the carrier tracking level, incorporating some a priori knowledge about the statistics of the scintillation to be dealt with. These techniques aim at dissociating the carrier phase dynamics of interest from phase scintillation by modeling the latter through some correlated Gaussian function, such as the case of autoregressive processes. However, besides the fact that the optimality of these techniques is still to be reached, their applicability for dealing with scintillation in real-world environments also remains to be confirmed. We carry out an extensive analysis and experimentation campaign on the suitability of these techniques by processing real data captures of scintillation at low and high latitudes. We first evaluate how well phase scintillation can be modeled through an autoregressive process. Then, we propose a novel adaptive, low-complexity autoregressive Kalman filter intended to facilitate the implementation of the approach in practice. Last, we provide an analysis of the operational region of the proposed technique and the limits at which a performance gain over conventional tracking architectures is obtained. The results validate the excellence of the proposed approach for GNSS carrier tracking under scintillation conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Number of pages14
JournalGPS Solutions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Autoregressive modeling
  • Carrier tracking
  • GNSS
  • Ionospheric scintillation
  • Kalman filter


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