Generation of real‐time mode high‐resolution water vapor fields from GPS observations

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Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 2017

Yu, C., Penna, N. T., & Li, Z.


Pointwise GPS measurements of tropospheric zenith total delay can be interpolated to provide high‐resolution water vapor maps which may be used for correcting synthetic aperture radar images, for numeral weather prediction, and for correcting Network Real‐time Kinematic GPS observations. Several previous studies have addressed the importance of the elevation dependency of water vapor, but it is often a challenge to separate elevation‐dependent tropospheric delays from turbulent components. In this paper, we present an iterative tropospheric decomposition interpolation model that decouples the elevation and turbulent tropospheric delay components. For a 150 km × 150 km California study region, we estimate real‐time mode zenith total delays at 41 GPS stations over 1 year by using the precise point positioning technique and demonstrate that the decoupled interpolation model generates improved high‐resolution tropospheric delay maps compared with previous tropospheric turbulence‐ and elevation‐dependent models. Cross validation of the GPS zenith total delays yields an RMS error of 4.6 mm with the decoupled interpolation model, compared with 8.4 mm with the previous model. On converting the GPS zenith wet delays to precipitable water vapor and interpolating to 1 km grid cells across the region, validations with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer near‐IR water vapor product show 1.7 mm RMS differences by using the decoupled model, compared with 2.0 mm for the previous interpolation model. Such results are obtained without differencing the tropospheric delays or water vapor estimates in time or space, while the errors are similar over flat and mountainous terrains, as well as for both inland and coastal areas.

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