Uses of the  Data
Home Up The Radiosonde Uses of the  Data Maintenance Issues Frequency Issues


Application of Rawinsonde Observations
Understanding and accurately predicting changes in the atmosphere requires adquate observations of the upper atmosphere.  Radiosondes are the primary source of upper-air data and will remain so into the foreseeable future.   Various space and ground-based remote sensing systems compliment the radiosondes with more frequent measurement of portions of the atmosphere for certain parameters.   While radiosondes are only flown twice daily (00 and 12 UTC), they are the only source for a complete sounding of the atmosphere from the surface to 30+ kilometers.   It may in the future be possible to reduce the number of radiosondes used annually as data from these other sources (such as satellites, profilers, and aircraft) are integrated into NWS operations.  The effort to better integrate the various data sources is being conducted as part of the North American Atmospheric Observing System (NAOS) program.


Rawinsonde observations are applied to a broad spectrum of efforts.  Data applications include:

Input for computer-based weather prediction models (see National Centers for Environmental Prediction)
Severe thunderstorm/flash flood forecasting
Forest/brush fire advancement
Air pollution dispersion
Calibration of satellite and other remote sensing systems
Weather and climate research


Continued availability of rawinsonde observations is critical to achieving several NOAA Strategic Goals:
Advance Short-Term Warning and Forecast Services
Implement Seasonal to Interannual Climate Forecasts
Predict and Assess Decadal to Centennial Change
observer1.jpg (12518 bytes)

Back Home Up Next

This site is maintained by the:

   Programs and Plans Division
   Office of Science and Technology
   National Weather Service

Date Last Modified: December 6, 2001