Water vapor plays an important role in both climate change processes and atmospheric chemistry and photochemistry. Global water vapor vertical profile can be derived from satellite infrared and microwave sounders. However, no single remote sensing technique is capable of completely fulfilling the needs for numerical weather prediction, chemistry, and climate studies in terms of vertical resolution, spatial and temporal coverage, and accuracy. In addition to the passive infrared and microwave sounder observations, the active global positioning system (GPS) radio occultation (RO) technique can also provide all-weather temperature and moisture profiles. In this chapter, we describe the current developments of global water vapor vertical profile and total precipitable water derived from active GPS RO measurements. In addition, we also demonstrate the potential improvement of global water vapor estimates using combined active GPS RO and passive IR/MW particularly from Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS) and Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) measurements. Results show that because RO data are very sensitive to water vapor variation in the moisture rich troposphere, the RO data are able to provide extra water vapor information for the combined AIRS/ATMS and RO retrievals in the lower troposphere.
Part of the book: Green Chemistry Applications