Assessment of precipitable water vapor derived from ground-based BeiDou observations with Precise Point Positioning approach

Min Li, Wenwen Li, Chuang Shi, Qile Zhao, Xing Su, Lizhong Qu, Zhizhao Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Precipitable water vapor (PWV) estimation from Global Positioning System (GPS) has been extensively studied and used for meteorological applications. However PWV estimation using the emerging BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) is very limited. In this paper the PWV estimation strategy and the evaluation of the results inferred from ground-based BDS observations using Precise Point Positioning (PPP) method are presented. BDS and GPS data from 10 stations distributed in the Asia-Pacific and West Indian Ocean regions during the year 2013 are processed using the PANDA (Position and Navigation Data Analyst) software package. The BDS-PWV and GPS-PWV are derived from the BDS-only and GPS-only observations, respectively. The PPP positioning differences between BDS-only and GPS-only show a standard deviation (STD) <1 cm in the east and north components and 1-3 cm in vertical component. The BDS-PWV and GPS-PWV at the HKTU station (Hong Kong, China) is compared with PWV derived from a radiosonde station (about 1 km distance) over a 6-month period. The GPS-PWV shows a good agreement with radiosonde-PWV with a bias of 0.002 mm and a STD of 2.49 mm while BDS-PWV has with a bias of -2.04 mm and STD 2.68 mm with respect to radiosonde-PWV. This indicates that the PWV estimated from the BDS can achieve similar precision as PWV from GPS. The BDS-PWV is compared to GPS-PWV at 10 stations. The mean bias and STD of their differences at 10 stations are 0.78 mm and 1.77 mm, respectively. The mean root mean square (RMS) value is 2.00 mm by considering the GPS-PWV as reference truth. This again confirms that the BDS-PWV has a good agreement with the GPS-PWV. It clearly indicates that the BDS is ready for the high precision meteorological applications in the Asia-Pacific and West Indian Ocean regions and that BDS alone can be used for PWV estimation with an accuracy comparable to GPS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-162
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Assessment
  • BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS)
  • Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Precipitable water vapor (PWV)
  • Precise Point Positioning (PPP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

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