Estimates of the precision of GPS radio occultations from the COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3 mission

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Abstract

[1] The Constellation Observing System for Meteorology Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC)/Formosa Satellite 3 (FORMOSAT-3) is a six-satellite radio occultation mission that was launched in mid-April, 2006. The close proximity of the COSMIC satellites provides a unique opportunity to estimate the precision of the radio occultation remote sensing technique from closely collocated occultations (<10 km separation of tangent points). The RMS difference of refractivity between 10 and 20 km altitude is less than 0.2%, which is approximately twice better than previous estimates obtained from CHAMP and SAC-C collocated occultations, apparently, due to smaller separation of the occultation pairs and due to parallel occultation planes. In the lower troposphere, the maximal RMS is ∼0.8% at 2 km altitude and decreases abruptly to ∼0.2% between 6 and 8 km altitude. The RMS difference of electron density in the ionosphere between 150 and 500 km altitude for collocated occultations is about 103 cm−3.

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