The International Reference Ionosphere: Rawer's IRI and its status today
Abstract. When the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) initiated the International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) project in 1968 it wisely selected K. Rawer as its first Chairperson. With a solid footing and good contacts in both the ground-based and space-based ionospheric communities he was ideally suited to pull together colleagues and data from both communities to help build the first version of the IRI. He assembled a team of 20+ international ionospheric experts in the IRI Working Group and chaired and directed the group from 1968 to 1984. The working group has now grown to 63 members and the IRI model has undergone many revisions as new data became available and new modeling techniques were applied. This paper was presented during a special session of the Kleinheubach Tagung 2013 in honor of K. Rawer's 100th birthday. It will review the current status of the IRI model and project and the international recognition it has achieved. It is quite fitting that this year we not only celebrate K. Rawer's 100th birthday but also the exciting news that his favorite science endeavor, IRI, has been internationally recognized as an ISO (International Standardization Organization) standard. The IRI homepage is at http://irimodel.org.