Potential of cost-efficient single frequency GNSS receivers for water vapor monitoring

Andreas Krietemeyer*, Marie Claire ten Veldhuis, Hans van der Marel, Eugenio Realini, Nick van de Giesen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
86 Downloads (Pure)


Dual-frequency Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSSs) enable the estimation of Zenith Tropospheric Delay (ZTD) which can be converted to PrecipitableWater Vapor (PWV). The density of existing GNSS monitoring networks is insufficient to capture small-scale water vapor variations that are especially important for extreme weather forecasting. A densification with geodetic-grade dual-frequency receivers is not economically feasible. Cost-efficient single-frequency receivers offer a possible alternative. This paper studies the feasibility of using low-cost receivers to increase the density of GNSS networks for retrieval of PWV. We processed one year of GNSS data from an IGS station and two co-located single-frequency stations. Additionally, in another experiment, the Radio Frequency (RF) signal from a geodetic-grade dual-frequency antenna was split to a geodetic receiver and two low-cost receivers. To process the single-frequency observations in Precise Point Positioning (PPP) mode, we apply the Satellite-specific Epoch-differenced IonosphericDelay (SEID)model using two different reference network configurations of 50-80 km and 200-300 km mean station distances, respectively. Our research setup can distinguish between the antenna, ionospheric interpolation, and software-related impacts on the quality of PWV retrievals. The study shows that single-frequency GNSS receivers can achieve a quality similar to that of geodetic receivers in terms of RMSE for ZTD estimations. We demonstrate that modeling of the ionosphere and the antenna type are the main sources influencing the ZTD precision.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1493
Number of pages21
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2018


  • GNSS meteorology
  • GoGPS
  • GPS
  • Low-cost receivers
  • Precipitable water vapor
  • Precise Point Positioning
  • SEID
  • Single frequency GNSS
  • Zenith Tropospheric Delay
  • OA-Fund TU Delft


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