Definition of Radiosonde

A radiosonde is an atmospheric data collection tool powered by a battery. This telemetry instrument is deployed into the atmosphere, typically via a weather balloon, and is designed to measure and transmit vital atmospheric parameters to a ground receiver. It is instrumental in collecting meteorological data, providing measurements of air temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure across various atmospheric levels.

Components of a Radiosonde

A radiosonde incorporates several key components:
Sensors: Sensors integrated within a radiosonde measure a multitude of parameters. Predominantly, temperature is measured with a thermistor, humidity with a hygristor, and pressure with an aneroid barometer.

Radio Transmitter: This pivotal component relays the data accumulated by the sensors to a ground station.

Battery: The radiosonde's voyage through the atmosphere is powered by this component.

Balloon: A radiosonde is usually tied to a large weather balloon, which is filled with either helium or hydrogen.

Launch and Data Collection

Radiosondes are launched from ground stations worldwide twice each day. This regular deployment gives a comprehensive, global depiction of atmospheric conditions. As the balloon carrying the radiosonde ascends, the rate of which is approximately 300 meters (1,000 feet) per minute, the radiosonde records the changing atmospheric conditions and begins transmitting this information to the ground station.

Role in Meteorology and Weather Prediction

The data captured by radiosondes are foundational to meteorology and weather forecasting. These data allow meteorologists to delve into the vertical profile of the atmosphere, contributing to the development of more accurate weather forecasts. Additionally, these measurements are crucial in the creation and verification of numerical weather prediction models, contribute to climate research, and support other scientific studies of the atmosphere.

The End of a Radiosonde's Journey

The voyage of a radiosonde usually ends when the weather balloon reaches a high altitude (around 20-30 kilometers up) and bursts, causing the radiosonde to return to Earth. To lessen the potential damage upon impact, a small parachute is frequently used to slow the descent. The majority of these devices are not collected after landing, although some weather services request that if found, radiosondes be returned for refurbishment and future reuse.
Updated: May 24, 2023
Published by: Weather Atlas | About Us