Articles | Volume 35, issue 2
Ann. Geophys., 35, 311–323, 2017
Ann. Geophys., 35, 311–323, 2017

Regular paper 28 Feb 2017

Regular paper | 28 Feb 2017

New parameterized model for GPS water vapor tomography

Nan Ding, Shubi Zhang, and Qiuzhao Zhang Nan Ding et al.
  • School of Environment Science and Spatial Informatics, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou, China

Abstract. Water vapor is the basic parameter used to describe atmospheric conditions. It is rarely contained in the atmosphere during the water cycle, but it is the most active element in rapid space–time changes. Measuring and monitoring the distribution and quantity of water vapor is a necessary task. GPS tomography is a powerful means of providing high spatiotemporal resolution of water vapor density. In this paper, a spatial structure model of a humidity field is constructed using voxel nodes, and new parameterizations for acquiring data about water vapor in the troposphere via GPS are proposed based on inverse distance weighted (IDW) interpolation. Unlike the density of water vapor that is constant within a voxel, the density at a certain point is determined by IDW interpolation. This algorithm avoids the use of horizontal constraints to smooth voxels that are not crossed by satellite rays. A prime number decomposition (PND) access order scheme is introduced to minimize correlation between slant wet delay (SWD) observations. Four experimental schemes for GPS tomography are carried out in dry weather from 2 to 8 August 2015 and rainy days from 9 to 15 August 2015. Using 14 days of data from the Hong Kong Satellite Positioning Reference Station Network (SatRef), the results indicate that water vapor density derived from 4-node methods is more robust than that derived from that of 8 nodes or 12 nodes, or that derived from constant refractivity schemes and the new method has better performance under stable weather conditions than unstable weather (e.g., rainy days). The results also indicate that an excessive number of interpolations in each layer reduce accuracy. However, the accuracy of the tomography results is gradually reduced with increases in altitude below 7000 m. Moreover, in the case of altitudes between 7000 m and the upper boundary layer, the accuracy can be improved by a boundary constraint.

Short summary
We propose a new GPS tomographic parameterization approach based on inverse distance weighted (IDW) interpolation. This approach can reconstruct a humidity field. In the future, the fusion of GNSS and external measurements from other sensors in the GPS tomography system will be a potential means to enhance the stability and reliability of water vapor tomography and to decrease tomography intervals.