Techniques such as tomographic reconstruction may be used to provide images of electron content in the ionosphere. Models are also available which attempt to describe the dominant physical processes operating in the ionosphere, or the statistical relationships between ionospheric variables. It is sensible to try and couple model output to tomographic images with the aim of inferring the values of driver variables which best replicate some description of electron content imaged in the ionosphere, according to some criterion. This is a challenging task. The following describes an attempt to couple an ionospheric model to a tomographic reconstruction of the geomagnetic storm of 20 November 2003, along a latitudal line segment above north America. A simple model was chosen to reduce the number of input drivers that were varied. The investigation illustrates some of the issues involved in image-model coupling. The ability to make scientific deductions depends on the accuracy of the assumptions in the ionospheric model and the accuracy of the tomographic reconstruction. An ensemble technique was used to help assess confidence in the reconstruction.
Smith, N. D., Pokhotelov, D., Mitchell, C. N., & Budd, C. (2010). Image-model coupling: application to an ionospheric storm. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, 17(4), 361-369. https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-17-361-2010