Articles | Volume 25, issue 9
02 Oct 2007
 | 02 Oct 2007

Empirical model for mean temperature for Indian zone and estimation of precipitable water vapor from ground based GPS measurements

C. Suresh Raju, K. Saha, B. V. Thampi, and K. Parameswaran

Abstract. Estimation of precipitable water (PW) in the atmosphere from ground-based Global Positioning System (GPS) essentially involves modeling the zenith hydrostatic delay (ZHD) in terms of surface Pressure (Ps) and subtracting it from the corresponding values of zenith tropospheric delay (ZTD) to estimate the zenith wet (non-hydrostatic) delay (ZWD). This further involves establishing an appropriate model connecting PW and ZWD, which in its simplest case assumed to be similar to that of ZHD. But when the temperature variations are large, for the accurate estimate of PW the variation of the proportionality constant connecting PW and ZWD is to be accounted. For this a water vapor weighted mean temperature (Tm) has been defined by many investigations, which has to be modeled on a regional basis. For estimating PW over the Indian region from GPS data, a region specific model for Tm in terms of surface temperature (Ts) is developed using the radiosonde measurements from eight India Meteorological Department (IMD) stations spread over the sub-continent within a latitude range of 8.5°–32.6° N. Following a similar procedure Tm-based models are also evolved for each of these stations and the features of these site-specific models are compared with those of the region-specific model. Applicability of the region-specific and site-specific Tm-based models in retrieving PW from GPS data recorded at the IGS sites Bangalore and Hyderabad, is tested by comparing the retrieved values of PW with those estimated from the altitude profile of water vapor measured using radiosonde. The values of ZWD estimated at 00:00 UTC and 12:00 UTC are used to test the validity of the models by estimating the PW using the models and comparing it with those obtained from radiosonde data. The region specific Tm-based model is found to be in par with if not better than a similar site-specific Tm-based model for the near equatorial station, Bangalore. A simple site-specific linear relation without accounting for the temperature effect through Tm is also found to be quite adequate for Bangalore. But for Hyderabad, a station located at slightly higher latitude, the deviation for the linear model is found to be larger than that of the Tm-based model. This indicates that even though a simple linear regression model is quite adequate for the near equatorial stations, where the temperature variations are relatively small, for estimating PW from GPS data at higher latitudes this model is inferior to the Tm-based model.