Variability and accuracy of Zenith Total Delay over the East African tropical region

Richard Cliffe Ssenyunzi, Bosco Oruru, Florence Mutonyi D'ujanga, Eugenio Realini, Stefano Barindelli, Giulio Tagliaferro, Nick van de Giesen

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) can be used to derive accurately the Zenith Tropospheric Delay (ZTD) under all-weather conditions. The derived ZTDs play a vital role in climate studies, weather forecasting and are operationally assimilated into numerical weather prediction models. In this study, variations and statistical analysis of GNSS-derived ZTD over the East African tropical region are analysed. The data is collected from 13 geodetic permanent stations for the period of 4 years from 2013 to 2016. The 13 stations consist of 5 International GNSS Service (IGS) stations plus 8 stations as follows: 4 Africa Array stations and 4 Malawi Rifting stations from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. The ZTD time series were processed using goGPS software version 1.0 beta1, a MATLAB based GNSS processing software, originally developed for kinematic applications but recently re-engineered for quasi static applications. The annual variation of the ZTD time series was investigated using Lomb Scargle periodograms. The semi-annual frequency has the dominant power in subregion 1 (latitudes 4 °S and 4 °N) and the annual frequency has the dominant power in subregion 2 (latitudes 12 °S to 4 °S). The highest ZTD estimates occur during the rainy seasons, at all stations, and the lowest estimates occur during the dry seasons. The results also show that the ZTD estimates are largest at stations located at low elevation (regions close to the Indian Ocean). The derived ZTDs are compared to the values derived from the GIPSY-OASIS via Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) online Automatic Precise Positioning Service (APPS) and the Unified Environmental Modelling System (UEMS) numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. The comparison of goGPS and APPS ZTD at the 13 stations shows an overall average bias, Root Mean Square (RMS) and standard deviation (stdev) of −0.9 mm, 3.2 mm and 3.0 mm respectively, with correlation coefficients ranging from 0.974 to 0.999. The comparison of goGPS ZTD against UEMS NWP ZTD at 8 selected stations shows average bias, RMS and stdev of −12.4 mm, 22.0 mm and 17.6 mm respectively, with correlation coefficients ranging from 0.802 to 0.974. The agreement between the GPS ZTD and the NWP ZTD indicates that goGPS ZTD can be assimilated into NWP models in the East African region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-920
Number of pages21
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • GNSS
  • goGPS
  • Precise point positioning
  • Zenith tropospheric delay

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