Abstract

The National Weather Service VIZ radiosonde and the Vaisala RS-80 radiosondes are used worldwide to obtain upper-air measurements of atmospheric temperature and moisture. The temperature measured by each sensor is not equal to the atmospheric temperature due to solar and infrared irradiation of the sensor, heat conduction to the sensor from its attachment points, and radiation emitted by the sensor. Presently, only the RS-80 radiosonde applies corrections to the sensor temperature to compensate for these heating sources, and this correction is only considered to be a function of solar angle and pressure.

Temperature correction models VIZCOR (VIZ sonde) and VAICOR (Vaisala RS-80 sonde) have been developed that derive the atmospheric temperature from the sensor temperature, taking into account all significant environmental processes that influence the beat transfer to the sensor. These models have been validated by comparing their corrected profiles with atmospheric temperature profiles derived from the NASA multithermistor radiosonde. All three radiosondes were flown on the same balloon during the potential reference radiosonde intercomparison. Excellent agreement has been found between all profiles up to an altitude of 30 km. Since the significant error sources in the VIZCOR, VAICOR, and multithermistor techniques are largely independent, agreement between all profiles implies that the corrected sensor profiles are providing an unbiased estimate of the true atmospheric temperature.

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