, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 233-241
Date: 26 Aug 2010

Comparison of atmospheric water vapor profiles obtained by GPS, MWR, and radiosonde

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Abstract

In studies of weather changes and, especially, in enhancing the performance of rainfall prediction, it is important to measure the water vapor distribution in the atmosphere. We estimated atmospheric water vapor profiles for fourteen days, including periods of severe weather conditions, by processing ground-based Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements and compared our results with microwave radiometer (MWR) and radiosonde (RAOB) observations. As a result, we found that the standard deviation (STD) of wet refractivity profiles between GPS with MWR was smaller than the STD between RAOB and MWR refractivities; the average STD was 9.3 mm km−1. In particular, we found that GPS-based wet refractivities detected inversion layers close to those from MWR when the observed GPS satellites were well distributed in the azimuth and elevation angle directions. When the satellite geometry was better, the mean error of GPS wet refractivities with respect to MWR was reduced to 0.4 from 3.2 mm km−1 for altitudes lower than 3 km. In some cases, however, the precision of GPS refractivities are lower than that of RAOB ones relative to MWR results.