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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2018-77
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2018-77
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Sep 2018

Research article | 04 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).

Precision of continuous GPS velocities from statistical analysis of synthetic time series

Christine Masson, Stephane Mazzotti, and Philippe Vernant Christine Masson et al.
  • Géosciences Montpellier, CNRS, University of Montpellier, Université des Antilles, Montpellier, 34000, France

Abstract. We use statistical analyses of synthetic position time series to estimate the potential precision of GPS velocities. The synthetic series represent the standard range of noise, seasonal, and position offset characteristics, leaving aside extreme values. This analysis is combined with a new simple method for automatic offset detection that allows an automatic treatment of the massive dataset. Colored noise and the presence of offsets are the primary contributor to velocity variability. However, regression tree analyses show that the main factors controlling the velocity precision are first the duration of the series, followed by the presence of offsets and the noise (dispersion and spectral index). Our analysis allows us to propose guidelines, which can be applied to actual GPS data, that constrain the velocity accuracies (expressed as 95% confidence limits) based on simple parameters: (1) Series durations over 8.0 years result in high velocity accuracies in the horizontal (0.2mmyr−1) and vertical (0.5mmyr−1); (2) Series durations of less than 4.5 years cannot be used for high-precision studies since the horizontal accuracy is insufficient (over 1.0mmyr−1); (3) Series of intermediate durations (4.5–8.0 years) are associated with an intermediate horizontal accuracy (0.6mmyr-1) and a poor vertical one (1.3mmyr−1), unless they comprise no offset. Our results suggest that very long series durations (over 15–20 years) do not ensure a better accuracy compare to series of 8–10 years, due to the noise amplitude following a power-law dependency on the frequency. Thus, better characterizations of long-period GPS noise and pluri-annual environmental loads are critical to further improve GPS velocity precisions.

Christine Masson et al.
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Status: open (extended)
Status: open (extended)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Christine Masson et al.
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Short summary
We use statistical analyses of synthetic position time series to estimate the potential precision of GPS velocities. Regression tree analyses show that the main factors controlling the velocity precision are the duration of the series, the presence of offsets and the noise. Our analysis allows us to propose guidelines which can be applied to actual GPS data, that constrain the velocity accuracies.
We use statistical analyses of synthetic position time series to estimate the potential...
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