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The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is an important indicator for climate change. Using the Global Positioning System (GPS), it is possible to estimate the integrated water vapor (IWV) above the ground-based GPS receiver. In order to optimally determine the IWV, a correct model of the received signal phase is essential. We have studied the effect of the satellite antenna phase center variations (PCVs) on the IWV estimates by simulating the effect and by studying the estimates of the IWV based on the observed GPS signals. During a period of five years, from 2003 to 2008, a new satellite type was introduced, and it steadily grew in numbers. The antenna PCVs for these satellites deviate from the earlier satellite types and contribute to excess IWV estimates. We find that ignoring satellite antenna phase variations for this time period can lead to an additional IWV trend of about 0.15 kg/m2/year for regular GPS processing.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:48 , Issue: 10 )
Date of Publication: Oct. 2010