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Comparisons of Line-of-Sight Water Vapor Observations Using the Global Positioning System and a Pointing Microwave Radiometer

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  • 1 GPS Research Group, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 Environmental Research Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois
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Abstract

Line-of-sight measurements of integrated water vapor from a global positioning system (GPS) receiver and a microwave radiometer are compared. These two instruments were collocated at the central facility of the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program’s Southern Great Plains region, near Lamont, Oklahoma. The comparison was made using 47 days of observations in May and June of 2000. Weather conditions during this time period were variable with total integrated water vapor ranging from less than 10 to more than 50 mm. To minimize errors in the microwave radiometer observations, observations were compared during conditions when the liquid water measured by the radiometer was less than 0.1 mm. The linear correlation of the observations between the two instruments is 0.99 with a root-mean-square difference of the GPS water vapor to a linear fit of the microwave radiometer of 1.3 mm. The results from these comparisons are used to evaluate the ability of networks of GPS receivers to measure instantaneous line-of-sight integrals of water vapor. A discussion and analysis is provided regarding the additional information of the water vapor field contained in these observations compared to time- and space-averaged zenith and gradient measurements.

Corresponding author address: John Braun, GPS Science and Technology Group, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, PO Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307. Email: braunj@ucar.edu

Abstract

Line-of-sight measurements of integrated water vapor from a global positioning system (GPS) receiver and a microwave radiometer are compared. These two instruments were collocated at the central facility of the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program’s Southern Great Plains region, near Lamont, Oklahoma. The comparison was made using 47 days of observations in May and June of 2000. Weather conditions during this time period were variable with total integrated water vapor ranging from less than 10 to more than 50 mm. To minimize errors in the microwave radiometer observations, observations were compared during conditions when the liquid water measured by the radiometer was less than 0.1 mm. The linear correlation of the observations between the two instruments is 0.99 with a root-mean-square difference of the GPS water vapor to a linear fit of the microwave radiometer of 1.3 mm. The results from these comparisons are used to evaluate the ability of networks of GPS receivers to measure instantaneous line-of-sight integrals of water vapor. A discussion and analysis is provided regarding the additional information of the water vapor field contained in these observations compared to time- and space-averaged zenith and gradient measurements.

Corresponding author address: John Braun, GPS Science and Technology Group, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, PO Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307. Email: braunj@ucar.edu

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