Atmospheric soundings derived from Global Positioning System radio occultations (GPSRO) acquired in low-Earth orbit have the potential to be global climate benchmark observations of significant value to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Geophysical observables such as atmospheric pressure and temperature are derived by measuring propagation delay induced by the atmosphere, a measurement whose fundamental unit-the second-is absolutely determined by calibration against atomic clocks. In this paper, we analyze the sources of systematic and random error for GPSRO soundings to determine the steps needed to establish GPSRO as a climate benchmark observation. Benchmarks require specific processing strategies and specific forms of documentation so that confidence in the accuracy and precision of the measurements is assured. Establishing calibration traceability to absolute standards (SI-traceability) is an essential strategy. We discuss a wide range of error sources in a geophysical retrieval, such as orbit determination error, signal delay in the Earth's ionosphere, and quality control strategies. Uncalibrated ionospheric delay is identified as the error source deserving the most attention in establishing SI-traceability of the retrievals, to meet stringent climate observation requirements of 0.5 K accuracy and 0.04 K stability. Profile comparisons from the recently launched COSMIC constellation establish strong upper limits on systematic error arising from the individual instruments. These encouraging results suggest that GPSRO should become a permanent resource for the GCOS. These highly precise and accurate instruments can be deployed on future Earth Observation satellites at a low per-sensor cost and minimal interference to existing and planned observational programs.
Atmospheric soundings using signals received in low Earth orbit from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite transmissions are widely recognized as important data for establishing a precise climate record of upper-air temperatures, due to their self-calibrating nature and all-weather acquisition. More recently, advances in retrieval methods using the same GPS data have opened the possibility of new scientific studies related to atmospheric processes and climate change. We will present recent innovations in extracting scientifically useful information from the phase and amplitude of received GPS transmissions, and discuss the technical challenges that need to be overcome to achieve new scientific results. Promising areas being pursued include: remote sensing of the planetary boundary layer from space, important for understanding ocean-atmosphere coupling; retrieving tropopause temperature structure at high vertical resolution, important for understanding troposphere-stratosphere exchange mechanisms and the role of convection; high accuracy and precision of upper altitude (25+ km) retrievals in the stratosphere. Using an end-to-end simulator recently developed at JPL, we will investigate in realistic detail the relationship between the atmospheric state and retrieved scientific parameters, and discuss retrieval research needed to address new scientific applications.
Broadband electromagnetic induction (EMI) methods are promising in the detection and discrimination of subsurface metallic targets. We compute EMI responses from conducting and permeable spheroids by using a field expansion method which is based on the separation of variables in spheroidal coordinates. In addition to an exact formulation which utilizes the vector spheroidal wavefunctions inside the spheroid, we also develop an approximate theory known as the small penetration-depth approximation (SPA). For general permeability, SPA is applicable at high frequency and compliments the exact formulation which breaks down at high frequency. However, when the permeability of the spheroid is large enough, the SPA yields an accurate broadband response. Numerical results for the far-field frequency responses from prolate and oblate spheroids are presented. By neglecting mutual interactions between the spheroids, we also study the broadband EMI response from a collection of spheroids that are randomly oriented and have different sizes.