Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-183
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-183

  30 Jun 2021

30 Jun 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

On the quality of RS41 radiosonde descent data

Bruce Ingleby1, Martin Motl2, Graeme Marlton3, David Edwards3, Michael Sommer4, Christoph von Rohden4, Holger Vömel5, and Hannu Jauhiainen6 Bruce Ingleby et al.
  • 1European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, RG2 9AX, UK
  • 2Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, Prague, 14306, Czechia
  • 3Met Office, Exeter EX1 3PB, UK
  • 4Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD)/GCOS Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN) Lead Center, Lindenberg, Germany
  • 5National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder CO, 80301, USA
  • 6Vaisala Oyj, 01670 Vantaa, Finland

Abstract. Radiosonde descent profiles have been available from tens of stations for several years now – mainly from Vaisala RS41 radiosondes. They have been compared with the ascent profiles, with ECMWF short-range forecasts and with co-located radio-occultation retrievals. Over this time our understanding of the data has grown, and the comparison also shed some light on radiosonde ascent data. It has become clear that the fall rate is very variable and that it is an important factor, with high fall rates being associated with temperature biases, especially at higher altitudes. Ascent winds are affected by pendulum motion, on average descent winds are less affected by pendulum motion and are smoother. It is plausible that the true wind variability in the vertical lies between that shown by ascent and descent profiles. The discrepancy indicates the need for reference wind measurements.

Bruce Ingleby et al.

Status: open (until 25 Aug 2021)

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Bruce Ingleby et al.

Bruce Ingleby et al.

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Short summary
Radiosondes keep measuring and transmitting atmospheric data after balloon burst – potentially providing an extra profile at minimal cost. We show that a subset of RS41 descent data is currently usable, and similar quality to the ascent data. Parachutes reduce the temperature and pressure biases seen. In the near future improved processing should mean that a larger subset is usable.