Evaluation of spatial and temporal characteristics of GNSS-derived ZTD estimates in Nigeria
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- Isioye, O.A., Combrinck, L. & Botai, J. Theor Appl Climatol (2017). doi:10.1007/s00704-017-2124-7
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This study presents an in-depth analysis to comprehend the spatial and temporal variability of zenith tropospheric delay (ZTD) over Nigeria during the period 2010–2014, using estimates from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) data. GNSS data address the drawbacks in traditional techniques (e.g. radiosondes) by means of observing periodicities in ZTD. The ZTD estimates show weak spatial dependence among the stations, though this can be attributed to the density of stations in the network. Tidal oscillations are noticed at the GNSS stations. These oscillations have diurnal and semi-diurnal components. The diurnal components as seen from the ZTD are the principal source of the oscillations. This upshot may perhaps be ascribed to temporal variations in atmospheric water vapour on a diurnal scale. In addition, the diurnal ZTD cycles exhibited noteworthy seasonal dependence, with larger amplitudes in the rainy (wet) season and smaller ones in the harmattan (dry) season. Notably, the stations in the northern part of the country reach very high amplitudes in the months of June, July and August at the peak of the wet season, characterized by very high rainfall. This pinpoints the fact that in view of the small amount of atmospheric water vapour in the atmosphere, usually around 10%, its variations greatly influence the corresponding diurnal and seasonal discrepancies of ZTD. This study further affirms the prospective relevance of ground-based GNSS data to atmospheric studies. GNSS data analysis is therefore recommended as a tool for future exploration of Nigerian weather and climate.