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Preliminary Estimates of Radiosonde Thermistor ErrorsIt has been long realized that radiosonde temperature measurements are subject to errors, not the least of which is the effect of long- and short-wave radiation. Methods of adjusting the daytime temperatures to a nighttime equivalent temperature were developed a number of years ago, and are used by some analysis centers. Other than providing consistent observations for analysis this procedure does not provide a true correction. The literature discusses the problem of radiosonde temperature errors but it is not apparent what effort, if any, has been taken to quantify these errors. In order to quantify this radiation error, radiosondes containing multiple thermistors with different coatings were flown at Goddard Space Flight Center/Wallops Flight Facility. The coatings employed had different spectral characteristics and, therefore, different absorption and emissivity properties. Discrimination of the recorded temperatures enabled day and night correction values to be determined for the US standard white-coated rod thermistor. The correction magnitudes are given and a comparison of US measured temperatures before and after correction are compared with temperatures measured with the Vaisala radiosonde. The US and Vaisala radiosonde data are from the recently completed WMO International Radiosonde Intercomparison held at Wallops. The corrections are in the proper direction, day and night, and reduce day-night temperature differences to less than 0,5°C between surface and 30 hPa. The present uncorrected temperatures used with the Viz radiosonde have day-night differences that exceed 1°C at levels below 90 hPa. Additional measurements are planned to confirm these preliminary results and determine the solar elevation angle effect on the corrections. The technique used to obtain the corrections may also be used to recover a true 'absolute' value and might be considered a valuable contribution to the meteorological community for use as a reference instrument.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Publication (TP)
F J Schmidlin ORCID
(Wallops Flight Facility Wattsville, Virginia, United States)
J K Luers
(University of Dayton Dayton, Ohio, United States)
P D Huffman
(University of Dayton Dayton, Ohio, United States)
Date Acquired
September 5, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1986
Subject Category
Meteorology And Climatology
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.60:2637
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
Temperature measurement
Long wave radiation
Short wave radiation
Data systems
Meteorological instruments
Data reduction
Balloon-borne instruments
Atmospheric temperature
Error analysis
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