EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Investigating INT2 and INT3 VLBI session performance for the determination of dUT1 

Matthias Schartner1, Christian Plötz2, and Benedikt Soja1
Matthias Schartner et al.
  • 1ETH Zürich, Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry, Dept. of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, Zürich, Switzerland (
  • 2Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie, Germany

The rapid determination of the Earth's phase of rotation, expressed through the Earth rotation parameter dUT1, is one of the core tasks of geodetic Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI). To ensure a low latency between observation and analysis results, dedicated 1-hour-long VLBI sessions, so-called Intensives, are regularly observed. Two of these Intensive programs, namely INT2 and INT3, are organized and monitored by the joint IVS operation center DACH. 

Within this study, a detailed overview over the last five years of the VLBI Intensive observing programs INT2 and INT3 is provided. INT2 sessions are typically observed on Saturdays and Sundays using a single baseline and a recording rate of 256 Mbps. INT3 sessions are multi-baseline Intensives with up to five stations, observed on Mondays with a recording rate of 1 Gbps. 

Starting in 2019, the scheduling strategy of the INT3 sessions was significantly changed, leading to a reduction of the estimated average dUT1 formal errors by 25% (from (6.1 ± 2.0) µs to (4.5 ± 1.0) µs) for the 4-station network. The improvement w.r.t. dUT1 mean formal errors for the 5-station network is 45% (from (6.3 ± 1.7) µs to (3.5 ± 0.5) µs). 

The best performing INT2 baseline is observed between station MK-VLBA (USA) and WETTZELL (Germany). Mid-2020, the same change was applied for these INT2 sessions, leading to a reduction in the average dUT1 mean formal error of 44% (from (11.7 ± 5.7) µs to (6.6± 4.7) µs). 

Furthermore, comparisons of dUT1 estimates from various analysis centers w.r.t. IERS EOP C04 and JPL EOP2 are conducted. It is revealed that the previously mentioned INT2 baseline shows a bias of only -2.5 µs and 1.9 µs based on the estimates provided by the analysis centers Goddard Space Flight Center (GSF) and Bundesamt für Karthographie und Geodäsie (BKG), respectively, when compared with JPL EOP2. In contrast, the bias is 10.4 µs and 14.9 µs w.r.t. IERS EOP C04. 

Besides analyzing dUT1 formal errors, the latency of the dUT1 results is compared. For INT3 sessions, results are typically available within 24 hours, while it takes two to three days for INT2 sessions, due to observations occurring on weekends. This reveals that the increased data volume recorded by the up to five stations with 1 Gbps does not increase the latency of the analysis results and dUT1 estimates can be obtained within 24-hours. 

Overall, this work provides a detailed insight into the INT2 and INT3 session performances, revealing a strong positive trend in the precision of dUT1 measurements over the last few years.

How to cite: Schartner, M., Plötz, C., and Soja, B.: Investigating INT2 and INT3 VLBI session performance for the determination of dUT1 , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8877,, 2022.


Display file