Abstract

Measurement of water vapor or humidity in the atmosphere is fundamental for many applications. Relative humidity measurements with a capacitive sensor in radiosondes are affected by several factors that need to be assessed and corrected. This work aims to address corrections for the main effects for the Meteomodem M10 radiosonde as a step to meet the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN) requirements. The considered corrections are 1) the calibration correction; 2) a slow regime due to the slow diffusion of molecules through the sensor, especially at very high and very low relative humidity conditions; 3) the relative humidity sensor dependence on the gradient of temperature; and 4) the time lag at cold temperatures, which affects measurements in regions of strong relative humidity gradients. These corrections were tested for 26 nighttime and 25 daytime radiosondes in two midlatitude locations for which both Meteomodem M10 and Vaisala RS92 measurements were available. The results show that, after correcting for the four effects, M10 relative humidity measurements are, on average, consistent with the Vaisala RS92 relative humidity values within 2% RH at all altitudes for the nighttime launches (against 6% RH before the correction) and within 5% RH at all altitudes for the daytime launches (against 9% RH before the correction).

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