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Atmospheric Precipitable Water Vapor

Many continental-scale atmospheric phenomena can be measured through satellite geodesy. GPS and other GNSS techniques can monitor changes in atmospheric precipitable water. Such changes can be monitored because transmitted signals from the GNSS satellites are sensitive to the water content in the atmosphere. Precipitable water retrievals have been shown to improve the representation of atmospheric water vapor in numerical weather prediction systems, increasing their ability to forecast heavy rain and hurricane intensity.

Atmospheric Precipitable Water Vapor

Figure 1 - Tomography Solutions During the Water Vapor IOP. The panels above illustrate the spatial and temporal variations in water vapor that have been retrieved from the network. Each layer represents a volume of atmosphere 410 meters deep with a horizontal span that covers the 40 square kilometers of the network. The bottom layer for selected time steps are shown. Each of these solutions were computed using ten minutes of data, on September 20, 2000. The series of solutions on the left illustrate a column of dry air that develops in the lowest 2-2.5 km and is centered in the southern portion of the network. The panels on the right show a moist pocket of air that runs through the boundary layer. These fields describe how the water vapor is varying within the volume with respect to the mean water vapor profile. Additional cases need to be computed and compared to other water vapor sensors in the region, but the temporal coherence between solutions is an encouraging sign that actual water vapor structure is observed. Braun, J. and C. Rocken, GPS Measured Water Vapor Variability at the ARM SGP CF, Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Atmospheric Radiation Measurements(ARM) Science Team Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, March 2001. More information is available in this PDF and by following this link.

Last modified: Monday, 03-Aug-2015 19:28:28 UTC


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