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    Use of automatic radiosonde launchers to measure temperature and humidity profiles from the GRUAN perspective

    Madonna, Fabio and Kivi, Rigel and Dupont, Jean-Charles and Ingleby, Bruce and Fujiwara, Masatomo and Romanens, Gonzague and Hernandez, Miguel and Calbet, Xavier and Rosoldi, Marco and Giunta, Aldo and Karppinen, Tomi and Iwabuchi, Masami and Hoshino, Shunsuke and von Rohden, Christopher and Thorne, Peter (2020) Use of automatic radiosonde launchers to measure temperature and humidity profiles from the GRUAN perspective. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 13. pp. 3621-3649. ISSN 1867-8548

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    In the last two decades, technological progress has not only seen improvements to the quality of atmospheric upper-air observations but also provided the opportunity to design and implement automated systems able to replace measurement procedures typically performed manually. Radiosoundings, which remain one of the primary data sources for weather and climate applications, are still largely performed around the world manually, although increasingly fully automated upper-air observations are used, from urban areas to the remotest locations, which minimize operating costs and challenges in performing radiosounding launches. This analysis presents a first step to demonstrating the reliability of the automatic radiosonde launchers (ARLs) provided by Vaisala, Meteomodem and Meisei. The metadata and datasets collected by a few existing ARLs operated by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN) certified or candidate sites (Sodankyla, Payerne, Trappes, Potenza) have been investigated and a comparative analysis of the technical performance (i.e. manual versus ARL) is reported. The performance of ARLs is evaluated as being similar or superior to those achieved with the traditional manual launches in terms of percentage of successful launches, balloon burst and ascent speed. For both temperature and relative humidity, the ground-check comparisons showed a negative bias of a few tenths of a degree and % RH, respectively. Two datasets of parallel soundings between manual and ARL-based measurements, using identical sonde models, provided by Sodankyla and Faa'a stations, showed mean differences between the ARL and manual launches smaller than +/- 0.2 K up to 10 hPa for the temperature profiles. For relative humidity, differences were smaller than 1 % RH for the Sodankyla dataset up to 300 hPa, while they were smaller than 0.7 % RH for Faa'a station. Finally, the observation-minusbackground (O-B) mean and root mean square (rms) statistics for German RS92 and RS41 stations, which operate a mix of manual and ARL launch protocols, calculated using the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) forecast model, are very similar, although RS41 shows larger rms(O-B) differences for ARL stations, in particular for temperature and wind. A discussion of the potential next steps proposed by GRUAN community and other parties is provided, with the aim to lay the basis for the elaboration of a strategy to fully demonstrate the value of ARLs and guarantee that the provided products are traceable and suitable for the creation of GRUAN data products.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: automatic radiosonde launchers; measure temperature; humidity profiles; GRUAN perspective;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Item ID: 13950
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Peter Thorne
    Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2021 13:21
    Journal or Publication Title: Atmospheric Measurement Techniques
    Publisher: European Geosciences Union (EGU)
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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