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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 Oct 2018

Research article | 02 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

On the information content in linear horizontal delay gradients estimated from space geodesy observations

Gunnar Elgered1, Tong Ning2, Peter Forkman1, and Rüdiger Haas1 Gunnar Elgered et al.
  • 1Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Onsala Space Observatory, SE-43992 Onsala, Sweden
  • 2Lantmäteriet (The Swedish Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registration Authority), SE-80182, Gävle, Sweden

Abstract. We assess the quality of estimated linear horizontal gradients in the atmospheric propagation delay above ground-based stations receiving signals from the Global Positioning System (GPS). Gradients are estimated from 11 years of observations from five sites in Sweden. Comparing these gradients with the corresponding ones from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) analyses show that GPS gradients confirm known seasonal effects both in the hydrostatic and the wet components. The two GPS sites equipped with microwave absorbing material below the antenna in general show higher correlation coefficients with the ECMWF gradients compared to the other three sites. We also estimated gradients using GPS data from two collocated antenna installations at the Onsala Space Observatory. Correlation coefficients for the east and the north wet gradients from GPS can for specific months reach up to 0.8 when compared to simultaneously estimated wet gradients from microwave radiometry. Based on the four years of results we note a strong seasonal dependence, from 0.3 during months with smaller gradients to 0.8 during months with larger gradients, typically during the warmer, and more humid, part of the year. Finally, a case study using a 15 days long continuous Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) campaign was carried out. The comparison of the gradients estimated from VLBI and GPS data indicates that a homogeneous sampling of the sky is a critical parameter.

Gunnar Elgered et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Gunnar Elgered et al.
Gunnar Elgered et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Within the EU COST Action ES1206 we have studied the horizontal variability of the atmosphere using signals from GPS satellites, distant quasars, and a microwave radiometer. We find a consistent picture: horizontal variability over time scales of months are mainly due the atmospheric pressure, whereas water vapour is the main cause for variations over minutes to hours. An understanding of these variations helps to improve the accuracy of GPS applications in geodesy and meteorology.
Within the EU COST Action ES1206 we have studied the horizontal variability of the atmosphere...