21 Mar 2023
 | 21 Mar 2023

Acquiring high-resolution wind measurements by modifying radiosonde sounding procedures

Jens Söder, Michael Gerding, and Torsten Köpnick

Abstract. High-resolved wind measurements are crucial for the understanding of dynamic processes in the atmosphere. In the troposphere and lower stratosphere, radiosondes provide a good spatial resolution of a few meters, but the wind data are usually low-pass filtered by the manufacturer in order to suppress disturbances caused by spurious motions of the sonde. As an example, the filter within the standard processing of Vaisala radiosondes becomes effective at vertical scales below 300 m for an ascent rate of 5 ms-1.

We describe a method for increasing the usable resolution of radiosonde wind measurements. The main ideas are to avoid self-induced motions of the balloon by keeping it in the sub-critical Reynolds number range, to avoid typical pendulum motions of 15 s period by using a shorter rope, and to use data from a descending balloon in order to avoid disturbances from the wake of the balloon on temperature and humidity measurements due to the decreased rope length. We demonstrate that our changes in hardware and software allow for artifact free wind data down to scales of 50 m, while remaining disturbances on even smaller scales are removed. Accordingly, the usable resolution of the wind data has been increased by a factor of six compared to the standard data output at comparatively low cost.

Jens Söder et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-510', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Apr 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Jens Söder, 22 May 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-510', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Apr 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Jens Söder, 22 May 2023

Jens Söder et al.

Jens Söder et al.


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Short summary
Weather forecasters around the world use uncrewed balloons to measure wind and temperature for their weather models. In these measurements, wind is recorded from the shift of the balloon by the moving air. However, the balloons and the measurement devices also move by themselves in still air. This creates artificial wind measurements that are normally removed from the data. We show new techniques to avoid these movements, increasing the altitude resolution of the wind measurement six times.