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Integrated Water Vapor Field and Multiscale Variations over China from GPS Measurements

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  • 1 Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, Daejeon, South Korea
  • | 2 National Geomatics Center of China, Beijing, China
  • | 3 Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, Daejeon, South Korea
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Abstract

Water vapor plays a key role in the global hydrologic cycle and in climatic change. However, the distribution and variability of water vapor in the troposphere are not understood well—in particular, in China with the complex Tibetan Plateau and the influence of the Asian and Pacific monsoons. In this paper, continuous global positioning system (GPS) observations for 2004–07 in China are used to produce precipitable water vapor (PWV) measurements; these measurements constitute the first investigation of PWV distribution and variability over China. It has been found that the stronger water vapor values are in southeastern China and the lower water vapor values are in northwestern China. These distributions are mainly affected by the latitude, topographical features, the season, and the monsoon. Water vapor variations over China are mainly dominated by seasonal variations. The strong seasonal cycles are in summer with maximum water vapor and in winter with minimum water vapor. The PWV in southeastern China has an annual amplitude of about 15 mm, much larger than in northwestern China at about 4 mm, and meanwhile the time of peak water vapor content is one month earlier than in other regions, probably because of the known rainy season (mei-yu). In addition, significant diurnal variations of water vapor are found over all GPS stations, with a mean amplitude of about 0.7 mm, and the peak value occurs around noon or midnight, depending on geographic location and topographical features. The semidiurnal cycle is weaker, with a mean amplitude of about 0.3 mm, and the first peak PWV value appears around noon.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Shuanggen Jin, Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, 61-1, Whaam-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-348, South Korea. Email: sgjin@kasi.re.kr

Abstract

Water vapor plays a key role in the global hydrologic cycle and in climatic change. However, the distribution and variability of water vapor in the troposphere are not understood well—in particular, in China with the complex Tibetan Plateau and the influence of the Asian and Pacific monsoons. In this paper, continuous global positioning system (GPS) observations for 2004–07 in China are used to produce precipitable water vapor (PWV) measurements; these measurements constitute the first investigation of PWV distribution and variability over China. It has been found that the stronger water vapor values are in southeastern China and the lower water vapor values are in northwestern China. These distributions are mainly affected by the latitude, topographical features, the season, and the monsoon. Water vapor variations over China are mainly dominated by seasonal variations. The strong seasonal cycles are in summer with maximum water vapor and in winter with minimum water vapor. The PWV in southeastern China has an annual amplitude of about 15 mm, much larger than in northwestern China at about 4 mm, and meanwhile the time of peak water vapor content is one month earlier than in other regions, probably because of the known rainy season (mei-yu). In addition, significant diurnal variations of water vapor are found over all GPS stations, with a mean amplitude of about 0.7 mm, and the peak value occurs around noon or midnight, depending on geographic location and topographical features. The semidiurnal cycle is weaker, with a mean amplitude of about 0.3 mm, and the first peak PWV value appears around noon.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Shuanggen Jin, Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, 61-1, Whaam-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-348, South Korea. Email: sgjin@kasi.re.kr

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