Climate Change Detection with the Global GPS Information System

Kuo-ying WANG


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted a persistent and wide-spread warming of temperatures close to the surface over the entire globe in the 21st century, due to the continuously increases in the concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. How realistic are the predictions made by the IPCC models, especially over the polar region where the highest increases in temperatures were predicted? Due to the lack of accurate temperature measurements over polar region, the estimate of temperature trends over the polar region remains to be determined. The polar region is also one of the regions where temperature trends remain uncertain. In this work we use profiles of temperature measurements from the FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC (F3C) to determine global temperature trends during the period 2006-2016. The radio occultation (RO) technique gives the F3C a unique and accurate temperature measurement when verified against radiosonde measurements, and when compared with other passive-based temperature measurements using the thermal infra-red emission method. The RO methods use known sources from the radio waves provided by the Global Positioning System (GPS). With a good global coverage by the F3C, we can work out temperature trends on a global scale. Our analysis shows following main results. The distinctive warming over the northern hemisphere polar regions. This warming in the polar region, identified by the F3C observations, confirms the predictions made by the IPCC models. As warming trends in the polar region are the most worried concerns for the global warming, which is likely to lead to progressive reduction in sea ice content, melting glaciers, etc. Our work with the F3C data proves this is terrifying picture is actually happening now. Our analysis also shows distinctive warming over the southern hemisphere polar regions. Again, this proves significant warming during the cold season in the polar region which is consistent with what we have found in the northern hemisphere polar regions. In conclusion, the F3C data demonstrates that significant warming has occurred during the period 2007-2013, and most pronounced warming areas have occurred over the polar region. The pronounced warming over the polar region likely to have worsen effects on sea ice lost, and melting glaciers.


Climate change, GPS, Radio occultation, Formosta-3/COSMIC


Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.