Meteorologists, like most scientists, often use observational data assuming the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that the quality of the data has been properly controlled. Experience developing an archive of upper-air observations from historical and real-time data suggests that some of the steps necessary to assure the basic scientific integrity of these data have not, in fact, been taken. This is especially so in recent years, since the introduction of automation into data observing and processing. Some of the problems and issues related to the observation, collection, and archiving of upper-air data are discussed. The intent of this paper is to stimulate dialogue within the upper-air-data–user community about these issues so that appropriate action can be formulated and implemented.
*NOAA/ERL Forecast Systems Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
+NOAA/ERL National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma