Applying the Water Vapor Radiometer to Verify the Precipitable Water Vapor Measured by GPS

Abstract

Taiwan is located at the land-sea interface in a subtropical region. Because the climate is warm and moist year round, there is a large and highly variable amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. In this study, we calculated the Zenith Wet Delay (ZWD) of the troposphere using the ground-based Global Positioning System (GPS). The ZWD measured by two Water Vapor Radiometers (WVRs) was then used to verify the ZWD that had been calculated using GPS. We also analyzed the correlation between the ZWD and the precipitation data of these two types of station. Moreover, we used the observational data from 14 GPS and rainfall stations to evaluate three cases. The offset between the GPS-ZWD and the WVR-ZWD ranged from 1.31 to 2.57 cm. The correlation coefficient ranged from 0.89 to 0.93. The results calculated from GPS and those measured using the WVR were very similar. Moreover, when there was no rain, light rain, moderate rain, or heavy rain, the flatland station ZWD was 0.31, 0.36, 0.38, or 0.40 m, respectively. The mountain station ZWD exhibited the same trend. Therefore, these results have demonstrated that the potential and strength of precipitation in a region can be estimated according to its ZWD values. Now that the precision of GPS-ZWD has been confirmed, this method can eventually be expanded to the more than 400 GPS stations in Taiwan and its surrounding islands. The near real-time ZWD data with improved spatial and temporal resolution can be provided to the city and countryside weather-forecasting system that is currently under development. Such an exchange would fundamentally improve the resources used to generate weather forecasts.

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