Atmospheric opacity estimation based on IWV derived from GNSS observations for VLBI applications
Thermal emission of atmospheric water vapor has a great influence on the calibration of radio astronomical observations at millimeter wavelengths. The phenomenon of an atmospheric water vapor emits noise signal and attenuates astronomical emission. At 22 GHz, integrated water vapor (IWV) obtained from global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) is strictly related to atmospheric opacity (τ0), which is a crucial parameter for data calibration. Therefore, providing highly precise and accurate IWV from GNSS measurements may be an alternative for microwave radiometers. Whereas it is not possible to estimate IWV directly from GNSS measurements, its value is strictly correlated with the zenith wet delay (ZWD) that is estimated together with the coordinates during the GNSS positioning. In this study, differential and Precise Point Positioning methods for ZWD estimation are tested using two different tropospheric mapping functions: Vienna mapping function (VMF) and global mapping function (GMF). After positioning, the IWV conversion is performed using meteorological parameters derived from a meteorological station located near a GNSS site. Analyses for a 3-month period from June 1 to August 30, 2016, were conducted. Based on these, we obtained a very high correlation between IWV and τ0 as measured by the Torun 32 m radio telescope, which amounts about 0.95, for both PPP and differential solutions. Thus, techniques can be successfully used to estimate IWV and calculate τ0. However, the linear regression coefficients depend on the used positioning method.
Grzegorz Nykiel, Pawel Wolak, Mariusz Figurski. (2018). Atmospheric opacity estimation based on IWV derived from GNSS observations for VLBI applications, 22(9), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10291-017-0675-9
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