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Moore, AW, Small IJ, Gutman SI, Bock Y, Dumas JL, Fang P, Haase JS, Jackson ME, Laber JL.  2015.  National Weather Service forecasters use GPS precipitable water vapor for enhanced situational awareness during the Southern California summer monsoon. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 96:1867-1877.   10.1175/bams-d-14-00095.1   AbstractWebsite

During the North American Monsoon, low-to-midlevel moisture is transported in surges from the Gulf of California and Eastern Pacific Ocean into Mexico and the American Southwest. As rising levels of precipitable water interact with the mountainous terrain, severe thunderstorms can develop, resulting in flash floods that threaten life and property. The rapid evolution of these storms, coupled with the relative lack of upper-air and surface weather observations in the region, make them difficult to predict and monitor, and guidance from numerical weather prediction models can vary greatly under these conditions. Precipitable water vapor (PW) estimates derived from continuously operating ground-based GPS receivers have been available for some time from NOAA's GPS-Met program, but these observations have been of limited utility to operational forecasters in part due to poor spatial resolution. Under a NASA Advanced Information Systems Technology project, 37 real-time stations were added to NOAA's GPS-Met analysis providing 30-min PW estimates, reducing station spacing from approximately 150 km to 30 km in Southern California. An 18-22 July 2013 North American Monsoon event provided an opportunity to evaluate the utility of the additional upper-air moisture observations to enhance National Weather Service (NWS) forecaster situational awareness during the rapidly developing event. NWS forecasters used these additional data to detect rapid moisture increases at intervals between the available 1-6-h model updates and approximately twice-daily radiosonde observations, and these contributed tangibly to the issuance of timely flood watches and warnings in advance of flash floods, debris flows, and related road closures.

Xie, FQ, Haase JS, Syndergaard S.  2008.  Profiling the Atmosphere Using the Airborne GPS Radio Occultation Technique: A Sensitivity Study. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing. 46:3424-3435.   <u>10.1109/tgrs.2008.2004713</u>   AbstractWebsite

Global Positioning System (GPS) radio occultation (RO) sounding, with its high vertical resolution temperature and humidity profiling capability, is revolutionizing atmospheric science, particularly through assimilation in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. Currently, the observations are derived from GPS receivers onboard low Earth orbiting satellites. However, with the current number of satellites, it is difficult to provide dense sounding measurements in a specific region within a limited time period. With a GPS receiver onboard an airplane, the GPS RO technique offers such an opportunity while retaining the high vertical resolution sounding capability. The GNSS Instrument System for Multistatic and Occultation Sensing is currently under development for the National Science Foundation's High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER) aircraft. This paper presents a sensitivity analysis of the airborne occultation technique that will be used for the HIAPER system. The results demonstrate an anticipated overall accuracy of better than 0.5% for the retrieved refractivity from the surface to about 1 km below the airplane, where the expected airplane velocity errors of up to 5 mm/s limit the accuracy. The effects on the retrievals due to horizontal variations in atmospheric refractivity are significant, and retrieval errors may reach several percent inside frontal systems when the front is perpendicular to the ray paths and within 200 km of the tangent point. In general, the airborne GPS RO system provides a promising new data source for NWP and targeted observational studies.

Vedel, H, Huang XY, Haase JS, Ge M, Calais E.  2004.  Impact of GPS Zenith Tropospheric Delay data on precipitation forecasts in Mediterranean France and Spain. Geophysical Research Letters. 31   L0210210.1029/2003gl017715   AbstractWebsite

[1] Forecasting precipitation in the western Mediterranean is difficult because of the interactions among dynamical forcing, orographic lifting and moisture advection from the warm Mediterranean Sea. Torrential rainfall events are not uncommon, especially during the autumn. This type of event motivated an effort to improve precipitation forecasting by incorporating additional information on the initial state of the humidity field from Global Positioning System measurements of refractive delay. In this study we process data from a network of sites in Western Europe and assimilate the data over a two week period into the HIRLAM numerical weather prediction model. The overall impact for the two week period is neutral, however, for a severe rain event taking place during that period, the forecasts show improved skill when including GPS data. The work implies that the GPS data have good potential for influencing numerical models in rapidly developing, high moisture flux situations.

Haase, JS, Ge MR, Vedel H, Calais E.  2003.  Accuracy and variability of GPS tropospheric delay measurements of water vapor in the western Mediterranean. Journal of Applied Meteorology. 42:1547-1568. AbstractWebsite

As a preliminary step for assessing the impact of global positioning system (GPS) refractive delay data in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models, the GPS zenith tropospheric delays (ZTDs) are analyzed from 51 permanent GPS sites in the western Mediterranean. The objectives are to estimate the error statistics necessary for future assimilation of GPS ZTD data in numerical models and to investigate the variability of the data in this area. The time series, which were derived continuously from November 1998 to June 2001, are compared with independent equivalent values derived from radiosonde profiles and the High-Resolution Limited-Area Model (HIRLAM) NWP model. Based on over two years of data, the difference between radiosonde and GPS ZTD has a standard deviation of 12 mm of delay and a bias of 7 mm of delay. Some sites have biases as high as 14 mm of delay. The bimodal distribution of residuals, with a higher bias for daytime launches, indicates these biases may be due to radiosonde day-night measurement biases. The biases between the GPS ZTD and HIRLAM estimates are smaller, but the 18-mm ZTD standard deviation is significantly greater. The standard deviation of the residuals depends strongly on the amount of humidity, which produces an annual signal because of the much higher variability of water vapor in the summer months. The better agreement with radiosonde data than HIRLAM estimates indicates that the NWP models will benefit from the additional information provided by GPS. The long-term differences between the observational data sources require further study before GPS-derived data become useful for climate studies.