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Sensitivity of PAZ LEO Polarimetric GNSS Radio-Occultation Experiment to Precipitation Events


A Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) radio occultation (RO) experiment is being accommodated in the Spanish low Earth orbiter for Earth Observation PAZ. The RO payload will provide globally distributed vertical thermodynamic profiles of the atmosphere suitable to be assimilated into weather numerical prediction models. The Ground Segment services of the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and standard-RO processing services by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (USA) will be available under best effort basis. Moreover, the mission will run, for the first time, a double-polarization GNSS RO experiment to assess the capabilities of polarimetric GNSS RO for sensing heavy rain events. This paper introduces the Radio-Occultation and Heavy Precipitation experiment aboard PAZ and performs a theoretical analysis of the concept. The L-band GNSS polarimetric observables to be used during the experiment are presented, and their sensitivity to moderate to heavy precipitation events is evaluated. This study shows that intense rain events will induce polarimetric features above the detectability level.

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