2016 Volume 12 Pages 265-271
We conducted observations using four shipborne global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers on three research vessels and one passenger ferry to assess the real-time practicality of measuring GNSS-derived precipitable water vapor (PWV) over the ocean. A kinematic precise point positioning strategy was used for the GNSS analysis with a real-time GNSS satellite ephemerides (orbit and clock information). The analyzed time series of PWV was contaminated with unrealistic sharp variations that occasionally occurred. Periodic occurrence of a spiky variation with a cycle of one sidereal day, along with post-fit phase residuals averaged at each elevation and azimuth, indicated that one of the causes of the unrealistically large time variation was interference of reflected signals (multi-path). A simple quality control (QC) procedure based on the amount of PWV time variation was proposed. After the QC was applied, the retrieved PWVs had 3.4-5.4mm root mean square (RMS) differences against radiosonde observations, and 2.3-3.7mm RMS against those retrieved at nearby ground GNSS stations. The proposed QC procedure rejected more than 60 percent of retrieved PWV on research vessels and 6-11 percent on a passenger ferry. The results demonstrate the great potential of the real-time ephemerides and the necessity for careful consideration of the observation environment.