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We introduce here the normalized differential spectral attenuation (NDSA) approach, which is a novel differential measurement way for estimating the total content of water vapor integrated water vapor (IWV) along a tropospheric propagation path between two Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. The NDSA approach requires a transmitter onboard the first LEO satellite and a receiver onboard the second one. It is based on the simultaneous measurement of the total attenuation at two relatively close frequencies in the Ku/K bands, and on the estimate of a "spectral sensitivity parameter" that can be directly converted into IWV. NDSA is potentially able to emphasize the water vapor contribution, to cancel out all spectrally flat unwanted contributions and to limit the impairments due to tropospheric scintillation. The objective of the paper is to analyze the level of correlation between the spectral sensitivity parameter and the IWV at a given altitude from ground of the LEO-LEO link (tangent altitude), in order to single out the best performing frequencies. Simulation results are based on microwave propagation models and on radiosonde data. The results shows the potential of the NDSA approach to provide direct estimates of IWV along LEO-LEO tropospheric propagation paths in the 15-25 GHz frequency range, under different atmospheric conditions.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:44 , Issue: 6 )
Date of Publication: June 2006