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GPS water vapor and its comparison with radiosonde and ERA-Interim data in Algeria


Remote sensing of atmospheric water vapor using global positioning system (GPS) data has become an effective tool in meteorology, weather forecasting and climate research. This paper presents the estimation of precipitable water (PW) from GPS observations and meteorological data in Algeria, over three stations located at Algiers, Bechar and Tamanrasset. The objective of this study is to analyze the sensitivity of the GPS PW estimates for the three sites to the weighted mean temperature (T m), obtained separately from two types of T mT s regression [one general, and one developed specifically for Algeria (T s stands for surface temperature)], and calculated directly from ERA-Interim data. The results show that the differences in T m are of the order of 18 K, producing differences of 2.01 mm in the final evaluation of PW. A good agreement is found between GPS-PW and PW calculated from radiosondes, with a small mean difference with Vaisala radiosondes. A comparison between GPS and ERA-Interim shows a large difference (4 mm) in the highlands region. This difference is possibly due to the topography. These first results are encouraging, in particular for meteorological applications in this region, with good hope to extend our dataset analysis to a more complete, nationwide coverage over Algeria.

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The authors would like to thank the National Institute of Cartography and Remote Sensing and the Algerian Research Center for Astronomy, Astrophysics and Geophysics, for providing the GPS data. We are also grateful to Mr Larry OOLMAN from the University of Wyoming for making available the archive data of weather stations in Algeria.

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Correspondence to Houaria Namaoui.

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Namaoui, H., Kahlouche, S., Belbachir, A.H. et al. GPS water vapor and its comparison with radiosonde and ERA-Interim data in Algeria. Adv. Atmos. Sci. 34, 623–634 (2017).

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Key words

  • GPS
  • atmospheric water vapor
  • radiosonde
  • ERA-Interim