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Wang, KN, Garrison JL, Haase JS, Murphy BJ.  2017.  Improvements to GPS Airborne Radio Occultation in the Lower Troposphere Through Implementation of the Phase Matching Method. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 122:10215-10230.   10.1002/2017jd026568   AbstractWebsite

Airborne radio occultation (ARO) is a remote sensing technique for atmospheric sounding using Global Positioning System signals received by an airborne instrument. The atmospheric refractivity profile, which depends on pressure, temperature, and water vapor, can be retrieved by measuring the signal delay due to the refractive medium through which the signal traverses. The ARO system was developed to make repeated observations within an individual meteorological event such as a tropical storm, regardless of the presence of clouds and precipitation, and complements existing observation techniques such as dropsondes and satellite remote sensing. RO systems can suffer multipath ray propagation in the lower troposphere if there are strong refractivity gradients, for example, due to a highly variable moisture distribution or a sharp boundary layer, interfering with continuous carrier phase tracking as well as complicating retrievals. The phase matching method has now been adapted for ARO and is shown to reduce negative biases in the refractivity retrieval by providing robust retrievals of bending angle in the presence of multipath. The retrieval results are presented for a flight campaign in September 2010 for Hurricane Karl in the Caribbean Sea. The accuracy is assessed through comparison with the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts Interim Reanalysis. The fractional difference in refractivity can be maintained at a standard deviation of 2% from flight level down to a height of 2km. The phase matching method decreases the negative refractivity bias by as much as 4% over the classical geometrical optics retrieval method.

Wang, KN, Garrison JL, Acikoz U, Haase JS, Murphy BJ, Muradyan P, Lulich T.  2016.  Open-loop tracking of rising and setting GPS radio-occultation signals from an airborne platform: Signal model and error analysis. Ieee Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing. 54:3967-3984.   10.1109/tgrs.2016.2532346   AbstractWebsite

Global Positioning System (GPS) radio-occultation (RO) is an atmospheric sounding technique utilizing the received GPS signal through the stratified atmosphere to measure refractivity, which provides information on temperature and humidity. The GPS-RO technique is now operational on several Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites, which cannot provide high temporal and spatial resolution soundings necessary to observe localized transient events, such as tropical storms. An airborne RO (ARO) system has thus been developed for localized GPS-RO campaigns. RO signals in the lower troposphere are adversely affected by rapid phase accelerations and severe signal power fading. These signal dynamics often cause the phase-locked loop in conventional GPS survey receivers to lose lock in the lower troposphere, and the open-loop (OL) tracking in postprocessing is used to overcome this problem. OL tracking also allows robust processing of rising GPS signals, approximately doubling the number of observed occultations. An approach for "backward" OL tracking was developed, in which the correlations are computed sequentially in reverse time so that the signal can be acquired and tracked at high elevations for rising occultations. Ultimately, the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) limits the depth of tracking in the atmosphere. We have developed a model relating the SNR to the variance in the residual phase of the observed signal produced from OL tracking. In this paper, we demonstrate the applicability of the phase variance model to airborne data. We then apply this model to set a threshold on refractivity retrieval based upon the cumulative unwrapping error bias to determine the altitude limit for reliable signal tracking. We also show consistency between the ARO SNR and collocated COSMIC satellite observations and use these results to evaluate the antenna requirements for an improved ARO system.

Murphy, BJ, Haase JS, Muradyan P, Garrison JL, Wang KN.  2015.  Airborne GPS radio occultation refractivity profiles observed in tropical storm environments. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 120:1690-1709.   10.1002/2014jd022931   AbstractWebsite

Airborne GPS radio occultation (ARO) data have been collected during the 2010 PRE-Depression Investigation of Cloud systems in the Tropics (PREDICT) experiment. GPS signals received by the airborne Global Navigation Satellite System Instrument System for Multistatic and Occultation Sensing (GISMOS) are used to retrieve vertical profiles of refractivity in the neutral atmosphere. The system includes a conventional geodetic GPS receiver component for straightforward validation of the analysis method in the middle to upper troposphere, and a high-sample rate (10 MHz) GPS recorder for postprocessing complex signals that probe the lower troposphere. The results from the geodetic receivers are presented here. The retrieved ARO profiles consistently agree within similar to 2% of refractivity profiles calculated from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting model Interim reanalyses as well as from nearby dropsondes and radiosondes. Changes in refractivity obtained from ARO data over the 5days leading to the genesis of tropical storm Karl are consistent with moistening in the vicinity of the storm center. An open-loop tracking method was implemented in a test case to analyze GPS signals from the GISMOS 10 MHz recording system for comparison with geodetic receiver data. The open-loop mode successfully tracked similar to 2 km deeper into the troposphere than the conventional receiver and can also track rising occultations, illustrating the benefit from the high-rate recording system. Accurate refractivity retrievals are an important first step toward the future goal of assimilating moisture profiles to improve forecasting of developing storms using this new GPS occultation technique.