Performance of the high-resolution atmospheric model HRRR-AK for correcting geodetic observations from spaceborne radars



[1] Atmospheric phase delays are considered to be one of the main performance limitations for high-quality satellite radar techniques, especially when applied to ground deformation monitoring. Numerical weather prediction (NWP) models are widely seen as a promising tool for the mitigation of atmospheric delays as they can provide knowledge of the atmospheric conditions at the time of Synthetic Aperture Radar data acquisition. However, a thorough statistical analysis of the performance of using NWP production in radar signal correction is missing to date. This study provides a quantitative analysis of the accuracy in using operational NWP products for signal delay correction in satellite radar geodetic remote sensing. The study focuses on the temperate, subarctic, and Arctic climate regions due to a prevalence of relevant geophysical signals in these areas. In this study, the operational High Resolution Rapid Refresh over the Alaska region (HRRR-AK) model is used and evaluated. Five test sites were selected over Alaska (AK), USA, covering a wide range of climatic regimes that are commonly encountered in high-latitude regions. The performance of the HRRR-AK NWP model for correcting absolute atmospheric range delays of radar signals is assessed by comparing to radiosonde observations. The average estimation accuracy for the one-way zenith total atmospheric delay from 24 h simulations was calculated to be better than ~14 mm. This suggests that the HRRR-AK operational products are a good data source for spaceborne geodetic radar observations atmospheric delay correction, if the geophysical signal to be observed is larger than 20 mm.