Instrument : Balloon-Borne Sounding System (SONDE)

Instrument Categories
Atmospheric Profiling

General Overview

The balloon-borne sounding system (SONDE) provides in situ measurements (vertical profiles) of both the thermodynamic state of the atmosphere, and the wind speed and direction. During some field campaigns, sonde operations from multiple stations around a central location with baseline measurements, like a mobile facility, can provide important constraints for model simulations. At the ARM sites, sondes are launched at the following intervals:

  • ENA Graciosa Island, Azores: 2 times per day
  • NSA Barrow, Alaska: 2 times per day
  • SGP: 2 times per day
  • TWP Manus, PNG: 2 times per day
  • ARM Mobile Facilities: Each campaign sets the frequency; usually 4 times per day and as many as 8 per day.

Output Value-Added Products

This instrument is an input to the following value-added products, which provide improved measurements or derived quantities.

  • lssonde : BBSS: derived, relative humidity scaled with MWR
  • sondenogcptucalc : Balloon-borne Sounding System (BBSS): recalc. press., temp, &RH w/o ground check
  • sondenogcwrpn : Balloon-borne sounding system (BBSS): reprocessed WRPN without ground check
  • sondeptucalc : Balloon-borne sounding system (BBSS): recalc. press., temp, &RH with ground chk.
  • sondewndcalc : Balloon-borne sounding system (BBSS): recalc. winds with ground check

Output Datastreams

  • sonde : Balloon-borne Sounding System (BBSS): meterological data profile
  • sondewnpn : Balloon-borne sounding system (BBSS): Vaisala-processed winds, press., temp, &RH
  • sondewnpr : Balloon-borne sounding system (BBSS): Vaisala winds, research press., temp, &RH
  • sondewrpn : Balloon-borne sounding system (BBSS): research winds, Vaisala press., temp, &RH
  • sondewrpr : Balloon-borne sounding system (BBSS): research-mode winds, presssure, temp, &RH

Primary Measurements

The following measurements are those considered scientifically relevant.


Eastern North Atlantic
ENAC1 Browse Data Browse PlotsGraciosa Island, Azores, Portugal
North Slope Alaska
NSAC1 Browse DataCentral Facility, Barrow AK
NSAS01 Browse DataSupplemental 1
Southern Great Plains
SGPB1 Browse DataHillsboro, KS (Boundary) retired
SGPB4 Browse DataVici, OK (Boundary) retired
SGPB5 Browse DataMorris, OK (Boundary) retired
SGPB6 Browse DataPurcell, OK (Boundary) retired
SGPC1 Browse DataCentral Facility, Lamont, OK
SGPE14 Browse DataLamont, OK (Extended, secondary) retired
Tropical Western Pacific
TWPC1 Browse Data Browse PlotsCentral Facility, Manus I., PNG retired
TWPC2 Browse DataCentral Facility, Nauru Island retired
TWPC3 Browse Data Browse PlotsCentral Facility, Darwin, Australia retired
TWPX1 Browse DataExternal Data (satellites and others) retired
ARM Mobile Facility
ACXM1 Browse DataOff the Coast of California - NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown; AMF2
ASIS1 Browse Data Browse PlotsAirport Site, Ascension Island, South Atlantic Ocean; Supplemental Site
AWRM1 Browse DataMcMurdo Station Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica; AMF2
FKBM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsBlack Forest, Germany retired
GANM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsGan Airport, Gan Island, Maldives; AMF2 retired
GRWM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsGraciosa Island, Azores, Portugal; AMF1 retired
HFEM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsShouxian, Anhui, China retired
MAGM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsLos Angeles, CA to Honolulu, HI - container ship Horizon Spirit; AMF2 retired
MAOM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsManacapuru, Amazonas, Brazil; AMF1
NIMM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsNiamey, Niger retired
OLIM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsOlikiok Point, Alaska; AMF3
PGHM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsARIES Observatory, Nainital, Uttarkhand, India; AMF1 retired
PVCM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsHighland Center, Cape Cod MA; AMF1 retired
PYEM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsPoint Reyes, CA retired
SBSM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsSteamboat Springs CO, Valley Site; AMF2 retired
TMPM1 Browse Data Browse PlotsU. of Helsinki Research Station (SMEAR II), Hyytiala, Finland; AMF2
 retired = Originating instrument has been retired at this location


Richard Coulter
Argonne National Laboratory
(630) 252-5833

Jenni Kyrouac
Argonne National Laboratory

Donna Holdridge
Argonne National Laboratory
(630) 252-5148