EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

GNSS-derived Precipitable Water Vapor for Climate Monitoring

Galina Dick1, Florian Zus1, Jens Wickert1,2, Benjamin Männel1, and Markus Bradke1
Galina Dick et al.
  • 1GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ), Geodesy & Remote Sensing, Potsdam, Germany (
  • 2Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is now an established observing system for atmospheric water vapour with high spatiotemporal resolution. Water vapour is under-sampled in the current climate-observing systems and obtaining and exploiting more high-quality humidity observations is essential for climate monitoring.

The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), supported by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), is establishing a reference climate observation network, the GCOS Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN). Currently, this network comprises 30 reference sites worldwide, designed to detect long-term trends of key climate variables such as temperature and humidity in the upper atmosphere. GRUAN observations are required to be of reference quality, with known biases removed and with an associated uncertainty value, based on thorough characterization of all sources of measurement. In support of these goals, GNSS precipitable water (GNSS-PW) measurement has been included as a priority one measurement of the essential climate variable water vapor. The GNSS-PW program produces a nearly continuous reference measurement of PW and is therefore a substantial part of GRUAN.

GFZ contributes to GRUAN with its expertise in processing of ground-based GNSS network data to generate precise PW products. GFZ hosts a central processing facility for the GNSS data and is responsible for the installation of GNSS hardware, data transfer, processing and archiving, as well as derivation of GNSS-PW products according to GRUAN requirements including PW uncertainty estimation. Currently half of the GRUAN sites are equipped with GNSS receivers. GNSS-PW products for GRUAN and the results of validation studies will be presented.


How to cite: Dick, G., Zus, F., Wickert, J., Männel, B., and Bradke, M.: GNSS-derived Precipitable Water Vapor for Climate Monitoring, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-7836,, 2023.