Sensing water vapour in the atmosphere using GPS

Signals transmitted from satellites orbiting the Earth are delayed as they pass through the troposphere of the Earth. This is measurable by GPS and so it is possible to measure how much water vapour is actually in the atmosphere using GPS. This is a new area of research that will involve the student learning about high-accuracy GPS analysis and modelling of the atmospheric effects.

The map above shows the precipitable water vapour over the USA as estimated from GPS observations. Assimilating this information into weather forecasting and climate studies has not yet been attempted in Australia.

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