Assessing the Meteorological Impact of Variations in Atmospheric Water Vapour Content over Nigeria from GNSS Measurements

Olalekan Adekunle Isioye


This study analyses the meteorological impact of the variability of precipitable water vapour (PWV) retrieved from ground-based global navigation satellite system (GNSS) stations over Nigeria from 2013 to 2014; these measurements represent the foremost probe of GNSS PWV distribution and variability over Nigeria. In this study, GNSS PWV daily estimates were grouped into monthly and seasonal averages; the variations in the monthly and seasonal estimates of GNSS PWV were characterized and correlated with different weather events that are regarded as good climate change indicators. The results revealed that the spatiotemporal changes in PWV content are largely subjugated by the effects of latitude, topographical features, the seasons and the continental air masses. Our study shows that there is a very strong seasonal interplay among the GNSS PWV, relative humidity, rainfall and cloud estimates. In addition, GNSS PWV and total electron content (TEC) estimates show an opposite relationship; the semi-diurnal relationship between GNSS PWV and TEC is stronger than the seasonal relationship. The seasonal relation among GNSS PWV, temperature and wind speed appears weak, while very strong interplay exists among the GNSS PWV, sun spot number and total solar radiation estimates. Our results confirm that GNSS PWV is a good pointer for weather forecasting/monitoring and fit for climate monitoring if available on a longer time scale. Finally, we recommend the densification of the GNSS network in Nigeria, as this will enable 3D profiling of PWV, thereby providing more information on GNSS PWV time series, which is needed for long-term climatology.

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