Assessment of water vapor retrievals from a GPS receiver network
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- Bonafoni, S., Mazzoni, A., Cimini, D. et al. GPS Solut (2013) 17: 475. doi:10.1007/s10291-012-0293-5
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We present an assessment of a GPS receiver operational network to produce accurate integrated precipitable water vapour (IPWV) during a two-week field experiment carried out in Central Italy around the city of Rome, where different instruments were operative. This experimental activity provided an excellent opportunity to compare the GPS products with independent measurements provided by ground-based and space-based sensors and to evaluate their quality in terms of absolute accuracy of IPWV, analyzing also the spatial scale of GPS estimates. For instance, the assimilation into Numerical Weather Prediction models of IPWV provided by a GPS network or its exploitation in space geodesy applications to correct tropospheric effects requires an accuracy in the order of 0.1 cm to be ascribed to IPWV observations. In this work, we assessed that the accuracy for GPS IPWV estimates is 0.07 cm. Moreover, this experiment has pointed out strengths and limitations of an operational network for the water vapor estimation, such as a proper receiver distribution to achieve the desired spatial resolution and a coverage of GPS stations in both flat and mountains regions.