This article discusses the feasibility of using dropwindsonde-equipped aircraft to obtain meteorological observations over oceanic data-void areas for operational forecasting applications. Such in-situ meteorological observations would provide measurements of wind, temperature, and moisture at a higher vertical resolution and greater accuracy than currently available from satellite-derived observations. Such airborne observations, if globally obtained, would greatly enhance global datasets for both numerical weather prediction and for research studies of large-scale phenomena, such as the El Niño/Southern Oscillation. The aircraft could also serve as platforms for collecting frequent oceanic thermal and current information. The advantages and limitations of a dropwindsonde-based observing system are compared with current and proposed ground- and satellite-based systems.

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