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knocker

What is a radiosonde?

I'm probably biased but I thought this may be of some interest. It's US orientated but the two UK stations, Lerwick and Camborne, are very similar. The virtual tour is quite good.

 

http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/factsheet.htm

Edited by knocker

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I'm probably biased but I thought this may be of some interest. It's US orientated but the two UK stations, Lerwick and Camborne, are very similar. The virtual tour is quite good.

 

http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/factsheet.htm

 

Just to add that there are also regular radiosonde measurements at Herstmonceux, Nottingham and Albemarle in England and Castor Bay in Northern Ireland.

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Just to add that there are also regular radiosonde measurements at Herstmonceux, Nottingham and Albemarle in England and Castor Bay in Northern Ireland.

 

Very true and they are made using the Vaisala mobile automatic ground station.

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Very true and they are made using the Vaisala mobile automatic ground station.

 

Indeed, thanks for the clarification.

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Indeed, thanks for the clarification.

 

I should perhaps have been clearer about this. The Vaisala ground station is operated remotely thus in practice if CFO Exeter deem the synoptic situation warrants it they just ask the staff at Camborne or Lerwick to carry out a sounding at the appropriate subsidiary station. The only manual input required is from someone living near the ground station who 'tops up' the GS with radiosondes and balloons and to be on hand if a blockage occurs. It's quite a neat piece of kit and the only drawback I'm aware of is it doesn't like strong winds.

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There are a couple of articles in Weather in 2003 that are quite interesting, particularly the second.

 

Back to basics: Radiosondes: Part 1 – The instrument

 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1256/wea.126.02A/epdf

 

Back to basics: Radiosondes: Part 2 – Using and interpreting the data

 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1256/wea.126.02B/epdf

Edited by knocker
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I should perhaps have been clearer about this. The Vaisala ground station is operated remotely thus in practice if CFO Exeter deem the synoptic situation warrants it they just ask the staff at Camborne or Lerwick to carry out a sounding at the appropriate subsidiary station. The only manual input required is from someone living near the ground station who 'tops up' the GS with radiosondes and balloons and to be on hand if a blockage occurs. It's quite a neat piece of kit and the only drawback I'm aware of is it doesn't like strong winds.

 

Hi, sondes can be launched in winds of up to 20m/s without a wind cover and 25m/s with the cover added to the AS14 unit.

 

Dave

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Hi, sondes can be launched in winds of up to 20m/s without a wind cover and 25m/s with the cover added to the AS14 unit.

 

Dave

 

That was about the dodgy wind speed when we were testing the unit but of course you have to take gusts into account.

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That was about the dodgy wind speed when we were testing the unit but of course you have to take gusts into account.

 

Also the autosonde is designed to check the surface wind speed before it starts to fill the balloon, if that speed exceeds 25m/s then the sounding is aborted. It is still possible for the launch to take place under the guidance of the remote controller once the winds have returned to acceptable levels.

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I don't remember the abort option in those days but then it probably wouldn't have been applicable as it was under test to see whether the office wanted to purchase a couple so one requiremnt involved testing in strong winds.

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There have been a number of tweaks and new iterations over the years so it may not have been an option a few years ago. There is an updated version being pushed out now for the new RS41 sonde which, for example, means it takes less time to load the carousels and in launch preparation.

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Right thanks for the update. I assume they are still controlled from Camborne and Lerwick?

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Yes, and Exeter HQ too I think, although as I work for Vaisala rather than the UKMO I'm not absolutely certain !

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Just out of interest this snippet appeared in the Cornishman in September 1949.  It would have been after the office moved from a quarry in Mousehole to Camborne. Mother Cornwall and a box of magic indeed.

 

WEATHER FORECASTS

 

WEST Cornwall is to play a notable part, thanks to its unique geographical position, in the new national scheme to perfect the scientific preparation of the daily weather forecasts. Work will be based at Kehelland, near Camborne. Every six hours one of the so-called balloons, really a compact box of modern magic, will rise above the Duchy to heights more than twice those of unbeaten Everest with its eternal ice and constant snow. We shall all watch eagerly in case we are lucky and can. see the ascending instruments, or better still, recover a radio-sonde transmitter after its descent from the aerial regions to Mother Cornwall. Even the coastal fishermen, because of drift, may sometimes see the "land fall." In future we all surely, after reading in "The Cornishman" such an elaborate description of the busy new station and its wonders, will take a keener and more personal interest in the daily forecasts. We shall rejoice, too, when the local station, in which our pride will centre, plays its part in what, despite the occasional jest, remains one of the marvels of the age, of immense importance to coastal and sea-faring folk.

Edited by knocker
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On 3/7/2017 at 10:37, knocker said:

I came across this article by Jim Galvin from 2003 but obviously much if this is still relevant. I thought it might be of interest.

Back to basics: Radiosondes: Part 2 – Using and interpreting the data

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1256/wea.126.02B/epdf

yes worth a read, also interesting to me to see the names of folk, Saunders 1950 and prediction of fog, gawd knows how many times that particular bit of work was used by me, and every other forecaster prior to computer models?

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