Densified GPS Estimates of Integrated Precipitable Water Vapor Improve Weather Forecasting in North American Monsoon Events Abstract


  • Continuous GPS (CGPS) stations for observing crustal motion in the western U.S. now number more than 1200, with over 500 of them operating in real time. Tropospheric wet delay from real-time processing of the GPS data, along with co-located or nearby surface and temperature measurements, are being operationally converted to Integrated Precipitable Water Vapor (IPW) for evaluation as a forecasting tool. The available density of real-time GPS in southern California now allows us to explore usage of densified GPS IPW in operational weather forecasting during weather conditions involving moisture extremes. Under a NASA Advanced Information Systems Technology (AIST) project, 27 southern California stations have been added to the NOAA GPS-Met observing network providing 30-minute estimates of IPW for ingestion into operational NOAA weather models, as well as for direct use by National Weather Service forecasters in monitoring developing weather conditions. The densified network proved advantageous in the 2013 North American Monsoon season, allowing forecasters to visualize rapid moisture increases at intervals between model runs and radiosonde observations and assisting in flood watch/warning decisions. We discuss the observed relationship between IPW and onset of precipitation in monsoon events in southern California and possibilities for additional decision support tools for forecasters.


publication date

  • 2014

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