Radio Occultation Retrieval of Atmospheric Profiles from the FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC Mission: Early Results

  • Author(s): Cheng-Yung Huang, Chio-Zong Cheng, Po-Hsiung Lin, Chen-Joe Fong, Jens Wickert, and Chun-Chieh Hsiao
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2008.04.24.01(F3C)
  • Keywords: FORMOSAT 3 COSMIC Occultation GPS
  • Citation: Huang, C. Y., C. Z. Cheng, P. H. Lin, C. J. Fong, J. Wickert, and C. C. Hsiao, 2009: Radio occultation retrieval of atmospheric profiles from the FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC mission: Early results. Terr. Atmos. Ocean. Sci., 20, 21-34, doi: 10.3319/TAO.2008.04.24.01(F3C)

Six identical micro-satellites of the FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC (Formosa Satellite #3 and Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate: FS-3/C) mission were successfully launched on 14 April 2006. The FS-3/C mission provides the first satellite constellation for monitoring global weather using the Global Positioning System (GPS) radio occultation (RO) technique. The mission's primary scientificific goal is to obtain near-real time profiles of the bending angle and refractivity in the neutral atmosphere and in the ionosphere. In April, 2007 the FS-3/C mission provide about RO soundings of 2000 atmospheric vertical profiles per day in a nearly uniform distribution around the globe. The lowest altitude penetration for more than 80% of RO soundings reached below 1 km in altitude. Most soundings have penetration below 800 m altitude in the equatorial region and below 200 m altitude in polar regions. The quality and accuracy of the RO sounding profiles are in good agreement with the CHAMP(CHAllenging Minisatellite Payload) RO soundings and direct measurements using dropsondes. The FS-3/C RO sounding observations are used to support operational global weather prediction, climate monitoring and research, space weather forecasting, and ionosphere and gravity research.

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