CHAMPCLIM - Climate Monitoring Based on the CHAMP/GPS Radio Occultation Experiment

The overall aim of CHAMPCLIM is to exploit research satellite CHAMPsradio occultation data in the best possible manner for their most challenging application, which is climate monitoring.

Short Description

The provision of accurate, longterm data to enhance the quality of climate observations is one of the high priorities formulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Such data are vital to improve the ability to understand and predict climate variability and change. Until now it has not been possible to determine trends in atmospheric temperature from satellite data with convincing accuracy. Radio occultation (RO) data using navigation signals as provided by the Global Positioning System (GPS) can overcome these problems due to their unique combination of high accuracy, longterm stability, global coverage, and allweather capability.

Since early 2002 the research satellite CHAMP, led by CHAMPCLIM project partner GFZ Potsdam, has continuously recorded GPS RO data, which provides the very first opportunity to create global RO based climatologies on a multiyear basis.

The main objectives are

  1. RO data and algorithms validation,
  2. data processing advancements in order to optimize the climate utility, and
  3. RO based monitoring of climate variability and change.

After successful processing advancement and validation work, monthly and seasonal temperature climatologies were created from spring 2002 to summer 2005.

The results obtained show that the climatologies, though from a single satellite only, have the potential to improve even most modern operational climatologies, such as those from the European Centre ECMWF, demonstrating the climate utility of the RO data.

CHAMPCLIM thus provides a pioneering first step to future multisatellite RO missions set to globally monitor climate change in the atmosphere with unprecedented quality.

Project Partners


Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change University of Graz - Gottfried Kirchengast


GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) Potsdam, Germany

Contact Address

Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change, University of Graz
Gottfried Kirchengast
Leechgasse 25
A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43 (316) 380 5260
Fax: +43 (316) 380 9830