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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 723071, 16 pages
Review Article

The Potential for Observing African Weather with GNSS Remote Sensing

1Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
2Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO), P.O. Box 443, Krugersdorp 1740, South Africa

Received 1 September 2014; Revised 19 January 2015; Accepted 22 January 2015

Academic Editor: Julio Diaz

Copyright © 2015 Olalekan A. Isioye et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


When compared to the wide range of atmospheric sensing techniques, global navigation satellite system (GNSS) offers the advantage of operating under all weather conditions, is continuous, with high temporal and spatial resolution and high accuracy, and has long-term stability. The utilisation of GNSS ground networks of continuous stations for operational weather and climate services is already in place in many nations in Europe, Asia, and America under different initiatives and organisations. In Africa, the situation appears to be different. The focus of this paper is to assess the conditions of the existing and anticipated GNSS reference network in the African region for meteorological applications. The technical issues related to the implementation of near-real-time (NRT) GNSS meteorology are also discussed, including the data and network requirements for meteorological and climate applications. We conclude from this study that the African GNSS network is sparse in the north and central regions of the continent, with a dense network in the south and fairly dense network in the west and east regions of the continent. Most stations lack collocated meteorological sensors and other geodetic observing systems as called for by the GCOS Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN) GNSS Precipitable Water Task Team and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Preliminary results of calculated zenith tropospheric delay (ZTD) from the African GNSS indicate spatial variability and diurnal dependence of ZTD. To improve the density and geometry of the existing network, countries are urged to contribute more stations to the African Geodetic Reference Frame (AFREF) program and a collaborative scheme between different organisations maintaining different GNSS stations on the continent is recommended. The benefit of using spaced based GNSS radio occultation (RO) data for atmospheric sounding is highlighted and filling of geographical gaps from the station-based observation network with GNSS RO is also proposed.