Validation of MODIS Total Precipitable Water Using Surface GPS Technology

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Yolande L Serra, Aybrontai J Fears and James Moker, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States
In this research we validate estimates of atmospheric total precipitable water (TPW) from the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instruments onboard the Terra and Aqua satellites using surface Global Positioning System (GPS) derived TPW collected at ten stations across northwest Mexico during the 2013 North American monsoon (NAM) season. The MODIS Level 2 products provide TPW estimated from both the infrared (IR) and near-infrared (NIR) spectral bands and are available over the NAM region approximately twice per day. Our comparisons indicate that the correlations of Terra and Aqua IR TPW with the GPS observations are all significant at the 95% confidence level, while the NIR correlations show little or no significance. The analysis also finds that Terra and Aqua have significant seasonal biases with respect to the GPS for both the IR and NIR estimates at several locations, with the IR estimates showing better agreement than the NIR estimates. The dependence of the errors on elevation and time of overpass will be discussed to help identify contributing factors to the observed errors.