A Global Positioning System Meteorology (GPS/MET) proof-of-concept experiment became a reality on 3 April 1995. A small satellite carrying a modified GPS receiver was launched into earth orbit to demonstrate the feasibility of active limb sounding of the earth's neutral atmosphere and ionosphere using the radio occultation method. On 22 October 1995, a GPS/MET occultation took place over northeastern China where a dense network of radiosonde observations was available within an hour of the occultation. The GPS/MET refractivity profile shows an inflection, and the corresponding temperature retrieval displays a sharp temperature inversion around 310 mb. Subjective analyses based on radiosonde observations indicate that the GPS/MET occultation went through a strong upper-level front. In this paper, the GPS/MET sounding is compared with nearby radiosonde observations to assess its accuracy and ability to resolve a strong mesoscale feature. The inflection in the refractivity profile and the sharp frontal inversion seen in the GPS/MET sounding were verified closely by a radiosonde located about 150 km to the east of the GPS/MET occultation site. A similar frontal structure was also found in other nearby radiosonde observations. These results showed that high-quality GPS/MET radio occultation data can be obtained even when the occultation goes through a sharp temperature gradient associated with an upper-level front.

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*National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.

+University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.