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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.

Dautermann, T, Calais E, Haase J, Garrison J.  2007.  Investigation of ionospheric electron content variations before earthquakes in southern California, 2003-2004. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 112   B0210610.1029/2006jb004447   AbstractWebsite

[1] It has been proposed that earthquakes are preceded by electromagnetic signals detectable from ground- and space-based measurements. Ionospheric anomalies, such as variations in the electron density a few days before earthquakes, are one of the precursory signals proposed. Since Global Positioning System (GPS) data can be used to measure the ionospheric total electron content (TEC), the technique has received attention as a potential tool to detect ionospheric perturbations related to earthquakes. Here, we analyze 2 years ( 2003 - 2004) of data from the Southern California Integrated GPS Network (SCIGN), a dense network of 265 continuous GPS stations centered on the Los Angeles basin, for possible precursors. This time period encompasses the December 2003, M6.6, San Simeon and September 2004, M6.0, Parkfield earthquakes. We produce TEC time series at all SCIGN sites and apply three different statistical tests to detect anomalous TEC signals preceding earthquakes. We find anomalous TEC signals but no statistically significant correlation, in time or in space, between these TEC anomalies and the occurrence of earthquakes in southern California for the 2003 - 2004 period. This result does not disprove the possibility of precursory phenomena but show the signal-to-noise ratio of a hypothetical TEC precursor signature is too low to be detected by the analysis techniques employed here. Precursors may still be revealed for future large earthquakes in well instrumented areas such as California and Japan, if the tests can be developed into techniques that can better separate external influences from the actual TEC signal.

Lesne, O, Haase J, Kirchengast G, Ramsauer J, Poetzi W.  2002.  Sensitivity Analysis of GNSS radio occultation for airborne sounding of the troposphere. Phys. and Chem. of the Earth. 27:291-299. AbstractWebsite

The usual geometry for radio occultation sounding using GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) signals has the receiver placed on a LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellite. We investigate a new geometric approach, assuming an airborne rather than a spaceborne receiver. Information on the refractivity structure and hence the pressure, temperature, humidity can be retrieved from accurate airborne measurements of amplitude and phase delay of the signals occulted by the troposphere. We present some advantages and disadvantages for the concept of making measurements from commercial aircraft equipped with proper GNSS receivers and antennae compared to the spaceborne case. We simulated realistic airborne occultation observations and assessed the characteristics of their geometry and sampling. We also compared the dynamic range of the signal with the magnitude of error sources that affect the measurements. Findings include that an airborne system has the potential to provide many more profiles below 10 km height than a single LEO or constellations of up to 25 satellites over the North Atlantic (though with inferior global coverage), and that the SNR (signal to noise ratio) should be better below 5 km than in the LEO case. Though the receiver velocity error is larger than for the LEO system, it is still small enough relative to the signal level to retrieve useful information. Because of the large horizontal drift of the tangent point of up to 450 km, the assumption of spherical symmetry in the existence of significant 3D variations in structure is expected to be a major error source, in addition to the airplane velocity uncertainty.