NWS Radiosonde Evaluation
1 September 2018 - 1 October 2018
Lead Scientist: Jennifer Dover
The focus of the NWS Radiosonde Evaluation is to perform a full evaluation on participating vendors’ radiosondes to qualify for potential use in NWS Upper Air field operations. The NWS Upper Air network is currently using radiosonde frequencies in both the 1680 MHz and the 403 MHz bands. Future GOES-16 satellite operations are requiring all operational radiosonde frequencies to be 403 MHz. The NWS plans to migrate all operational radiosonde frequencies to the 403 MHz band over the next four years and transition to Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) products for radiosondes, tracking systems, and software. Specific requirements have been developed that all operational sensors must uphold and this evaluation will determine if the vendor’s radiosonde, tracking system, and software performs within specifications. To achieve this evaluation the NWS will perform tests on radiosondes in conditions that are reflective of all climates throughout the UA Network. The evaluation at ARM SGP will include several types of balloon borne tests to determine the precision of the radiosonde (unit under test vs. itself) and the accuracy of the radiosonde’s humidity sensor (unit under test vs. Cryogenic Frost-point Hygrometer reference), while also performing consensus reference comparisons (unit under test vs. Satellite).