Automated ambiguity estimation for VLBI Intensive sessions using L1-norm
Journal article, 2016

Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) is a space-geodetic technique that is uniquely capable of direct observation of the angle of the Earth's rotation about the Celestial Intermediate Pole (CIP) axis, namely UT1. The daily estimates of the difference between UT1 and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) provided by the 1-h long VLBI Intensive sessions are essential in providing timely UT1 estimates for satellite navigation systems and orbit determination. In order to produce timely UT1 estimates, efforts have been made to completely automate the analysis of VLBI Intensive sessions. This involves the automatic processing of X- and S-band group delays. These data contain an unknown number of integer ambiguities in the observed group delays. They are introduced as a side-effect of the bandwidth synthesis technique, which is used to combine correlator results from the narrow channels that span the individual bands. In an automated analysis with the c5++ software the standard approach in resolving the ambiguities is to perform a simplified parameter estimation using a least-squares adjustment (L2-norm minimisation). We implement L1-norm as an alternative estimation method in c5++. The implemented method is used to automatically estimate the ambiguities in VLBI Intensive sessions on the Kokee–Wettzell baseline. The results are compared to an analysis set-up where the ambiguity estimation is computed using the L2-norm. For both methods three different weighting strategies for the ambiguity estimation are assessed. The results show that the L1-norm is better at automatically resolving the ambiguities than the L2-norm. The use of the L1-norm leads to a significantly higher number of good quality UT1-UTC estimates with each of the three weighting strategies. The increase in the number of sessions is approximately 5% for each weighting strategy. This is accompanied by smaller post-fit residuals in the final UT1-UTC estimation step.

Earth rotation



Robust estimation

Automated analysis


Niko Petteri Kareinen

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Space Geodesy and Geodynamics

Thomas Hobiger

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Onsala Space Observatory

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Space Geodesy and Geodynamics

Rüdiger Haas

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Space Geodesy and Geodynamics

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Onsala Space Observatory

Journal of Geodynamics

0264-3707 (ISSN)

Vol. 102 39-46


Basic sciences


Onsala Space Observatory

Subject Categories


Probability Theory and Statistics



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