Citizen Scientists Conduct Distributed Doppler Measurement for Ionospheric Remote Sensing

Kristina Collins, Aidan Montare, Nathaniel Frissell, David Kazdan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Doppler shift measurement using time standard stations as passive radar beacons is well-established as a means of estimating virtual ionospheric height. A community science experiment in distributed Doppler shift measurement was conducted in October 2019 using the time station WWV, on the event of that station's centennial. Participants were asked to collect Doppler shift data from the WWV 5-MHz carrier via the open-source software program fldigi. This experiment garnered participation from stations across the country, demonstrating considerable volunteer interest: 45 recordings of WWV's 5-MHz beacon were collected. The novel element of this study is the use of distributed low-fidelity sensors in this geophysical domain, and the robust participation of the amateur radio community was enabled by inexpensive and readily available instrumentation. In this letter, we present an initial correlation analysis of the resultant data and discuss its implications for future long-term distributed Doppler networks. The data collected are in good agreement and, when examined together, offer some insights into regional trends. Despite the variety of equipment used by the amateur community, this community science approach shows promise for addressing the problem of undersampling in the geospace system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Citizen science
  • Doppler shift
  • GPS-disciplined oscillator (GPSDO)
  • distributed sensing
  • time standard


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