Impacts of real-time satellite clock errors on GPS precise point positioning-based troposphere zenith delay estimation
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- Shi, J., Xu, C., Li, Y. et al. J Geod (2015) 89: 747. doi:10.1007/s00190-015-0811-7
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Global Positioning System (GPS) has become a cost-effective tool to determine troposphere zenith total delay (ZTD) with accuracy comparable to other atmospheric sensors such as the radiosonde, the water vapor radiometer, the radio occultation and so on. However, the high accuracy of GPS troposphere ZTD estimates relies on the precise satellite orbit and clock products available with various latencies. Although the International GNSS Service (IGS) can provide predicted orbit and clock products for real-time applications, the predicted clock accuracy of 3 ns cannot always guarantee the high accuracy of troposphere ZTD estimates. Such limitations could be overcome by the use of the newly launched IGS real-time service which provides \(\sim \)5 cm orbit and 0.2–1.0 ns (an equivalent range error of 6–30 cm) clock products in real time. Considering the relatively larger magnitude of the clock error than that of the orbit error, this paper investigates the effect of real-time satellite clock errors on the GPS precise point positioning (PPP)-based troposphere ZTD estimation. Meanwhile, how the real-time satellite clock errors impact the GPS PPP-based troposphere ZTD estimation has also been studied to obtain the most precise ZTD solutions. First, two types of real-time satellite clock products are assessed with respect to the IGS final clock product in terms of accuracy and precision. Second, the real-time GPS PPP-based troposphere ZTD estimation is conducted using data from 34 selected IGS stations over three independent weeks in April, July and October, 2013. Numerical results demonstrate that the precision, rather than the accuracy, of the real-time satellite clock products impacts the real-time PPP-based ZTD solutions more significantly. In other words, the real-time satellite clock product with better precision leads to more precise real-time PPP-based troposphere ZTD solutions. Therefore, it is suggested that users should select and apply real-time satellite products with better clock precision to obtain more consistent real-time PPP-based ZTD solutions.