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Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 19;7(1):5874. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06095-1.

Annual variations of monsoon and drought detected by GPS: A case study in Yunnan, China.

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GNSS Research Center, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430079, China.
GNSS Research Center, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430079, China.
Institute of Geodesy, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 70174, Germany.
School of Geodesy and Geomatics, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430079, China.
Faculté des Sciences, de la Technologie et de la Communication, University of Luxembourg, 6, rue Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, L-1359, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.
MOE Key Laboratory of Fundamental Physical Quantities Measurement, School of Physics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430074, China.


The Global Positioning System (GPS) records monsoonal precipitable water vapor (PWV) and vertical crustal displacement (VCD) due to hydrological loading, and can thus be applied jointly to diagnose meteorological and hydrological droughts. We have analyzed the PWV and VCD observations during 2007.0-2015.0 at 26 continuous GPS stations located in Yunnan province, China. We also obtained equivalent water height (EWH) derived from the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) and precipitation at these stations with the same period. Then, we quantified the annual variations of PWV, precipitation, EWH and VCD and provided empirical relationships between them. We found that GPS-derived PWV and VCD (positive means downward movement) are in phase with precipitation and GRACE-derived EWH, respectively. The annual signals of VCD and PWV show linearly correlated amplitudes and a two-month phase lag. Furthermore, the results indicate that PWV and VCD anomalies can also be used to explore drought, such as the heavy drought during winter/spring 2010. Our analysis results verify the capability of GPS to monitor monsoon variations and drought in Yunnan and show that a more comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of regional monsoon and drought can be achieved by integrating GPS-derived PWV and VCD with precipitation and GRACE-derived EWH.

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