A Novel Tool for the Determination of Tropopause Heights by Using GNSS Radio Occultation Data
Francesco Vespe ; Rosa Pacione ; Elisa Rosciano
Jul - 2017
DOI: 10.4236/acs.2017.73022

journal : Atmospheric and Climate Sciences

Volume : 7 ; Issue : 3
type: Article Journal

The tropopause is a transitional layer between the troposphere and the stratosphere. The exchange of chemical constituents of the atmosphere (namely masses of air, water vapor, trace gases etc.) and energy between the troposphere and the stratosphere occurs through this layer. We suppose that just exchanges that are taking place at the tropopause heights are strongly influenced by the Global Change forcing. For this reason it is particularly urgent to accumulate temporal data the most accurate possible and with a certain continuity series to understand comprehensively what is happening to our climate. It is well known that Radio Occultation technique applied using Global Navigations Satellite Systems (GNSS-RO) is a powerful tool to detect the tropopause heights. It can be done working on the level 2 data provided by GNSS-RO payload: i.e. atmospheric profiles of pressure and temperature. We propose to measure tropopause using GNSS-RO level 1 data; i.e. the bending angles (BA) of the GNSS signal through the atmosphere. We fit the BA profiles applying in the integral relationship of BA as refractivity profile of background the Hopfield dry model of atmosphere which depends on the fourth degree of the height above the Earth. Through the layers in which tropopause is contained, the residuals between the background model and the observed BA have an anomalous trend. The residuals in this zone form anomalous non-gaussian bumps that we have exploited just to determine the relevant parameters of the tropopause. Such bumps are due to the wrong theoretical assumption made by Hopfield for the re-construction of the dry refractivity that the temperature lapse rate of the atmosphere is constant. But we know that the definition of tropopause according the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is just the height where a sudden change of the temperature lapse rate usually occurs. Thus in the present work we have determined tropopause heights with new algorithms which exploit the bumps occurring along the BA profiles achieved by GNSS-RO. We have used the huge amount of data provided by several space missions devoted to GNSS-RO (namely COSMIC, METOP, etc.) for tuning the algorithms, performed a validation and provided a robust statistical soundness. The same GNSS-RO observations are helpful also to reconstruct the Mapping Function commonly applied in geodetic applications. Global mapping functions built with GNSS-RO and their evolution in time can be an interesting parameter helpful for climate investigations as well.

keywords : Tropopause, Radio Occultation, Global Navigation Satellite Systems, Atmosphere Physics