Determination of uncertainty profiles in neutral atmospheric properties measured by radio occultation experiments
Radio occultations are commonly used to assess remotely atmospheric properties of planets or satellites within the solar system. The data processing usually involves the so-called Abel inversion method or the numerical ray-tracing technique. Both are now well established, however, they do not allow to easily determine the uncertainty profiles in atmospheric properties, and this makes results difficult to interpret statistically. Recently, a purely analytical approach based on the time transfer functions formalism was proposed for modeling radio occultation data. Using this formulation, we derive uncertainty relationships between the frequency shift and neutral atmosphere properties such as temperature, pressure, and neutral number density. These expressions are relevant for interpreting previous results from past radio occultation experiments and for deriving the system requirements for future missions in a rigorous manner, and consistently with the scientific requirements about the atmospheric properties retrieval.