ESRL Global Systems Division

GPS Met demonstration network half finished

The GPS-Met Observing Systems Branch of the Forecast Systems Laboratory develops and assesses techniques to measure atmospheric water vapor using ground-based Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. The branch was formed in response to the need for improved moisture observations to support weather forecasting, climate monitoring, and research. The primary goals of the branch are to: (1) demonstrate the major aspects of an operational GPS integrated precipitable water vapor (IPWV) monitoring system; (2) facilitate assessments of the impact of these data on weather forecasts; (3) assist in the transition of these techniques to operational use; and (4) encourage the use of GPS meteorology for atmospheric research and other applications.

To accomplish this, the branch operates and maintains a growing network of GPS receivers throughout the contiguous 48 United States and Alaska. The goal is to establish a 200-station GPS Met network in the lower 48 states, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean basin by 2005. The network started in 1994 with the installation of GPS receivers at NOAA Profiler Network sites at Platteville CO, Lamont OK, and Purcell OK. Since then, the network has grown steadily through a collaborative effort between FSL, other NOAA organizations including the National Weather Service and the NOS National Geodetic Survey, other federal agencies (most notably the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Department of Defense), and universities (especially NOAA Joint Institutes).

A major milestone was achieved on February 26, 2002 when the 100th station was added to the network. The station, located at Pigeon Point, California in San Francisco Harbor, is a Maritime Differential GPS site operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. Through an interagency agreement between FSL and USCG, FSL was able to install a surface meteorological sensor package at the site and retrieve the GPS and surface observations form this location in near real-time.

Contact information
Name: Seth I Gutman
Tel: 303-497-7031
gutman@fsl.noaa.gov