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DECODING UPPER AIR DATA

(RADIOSONDE)
Introduction
• Radiosonde is an expendable, balloon-borne
device that measures the vertical profile of
meteorological variables and transmits the
data to a ground based receiving and
processing station
• These profiles are typically obtained twice each
day
• When the device also measures winds, it is more
properly called a rawinsonde
• When a balloon without a radiosonde is tracked
by either optical or radar techniques in order to
measure only winds it is known as pilot balloon
PURPOSE
• Two primary purposes of upper-air soundings:
1. to analyze and describe current weather patterns
2. to provide inputs to short medium range computer-based
weather forecast models
• One very important, specialized use of atmospheric soundings
is in support of forecasting convective weather- Thunderstorm
TEMP MESSAGES
• Routinely measures the variation with altitude of
temperature, humidity, and pressure as the balloon ascends
heights up to about 30 km
• The height profile of these meteorological variables
constitutes an upper-air sounding
• These upper- air sounding data is then transmitted in a
universal format called TEMP MESSAGES that reports
meteorological conditions at various standard or so called
mandatory (pressure) levels as well as at significant levels
TTAA or Mandatory Level Data
• This section contains data from the so-called "mandatory" levels (hPa):
surface
1000
925,
850,
700,
500,
400,
300,
250,
200,
150,
and 100 mb
• Temperature, dew-point depression, height of the pressure level, wind
direction and wind speed are reported
MUMBAI UPPER AIR DATA
• TTAA 10/01/2020 00:00->
A B C D E F G H I J K L
TTAA 60001 43003 99010 20057 09008 00099 22860 07011 92776 20457 11516 85504

M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y
16216 18015 70144 10871 27511 50586 06765 30030 40757 10571 29556 30970 30166

Z AA BB CC DD EE FF GG HH II JJ KK LL
27545 25097 41170 27545 20245 52371 25537 15424 67766 24037 10661 74965 28016

MM NN OO PP QQ RR SS TT UU
88999 - - 77424 30570 44026 31313 52108 82338=
A
60001

A = day/time group; subtract 50 from the first 2 digits to obtain day (here 60-
50=10); the “00" indicates the 0000 UTC rawinsonde; the "1" denotes wind
data up to 100 mb

B
43003
B = station identifier
C
99010
C = "99" is an identifier for surface data; the next 3 digits give the
surface station pressure in whole millibars (mb); in this example 1010
mb
D
20057
D = The temperature/dewpoint depression group associated with the
preceding pressure level
- the first 3 digits are the tens, ones, and tenths digits for
temperature; if the tenths digit is an odd number, the temperature is
negative;
- the other 2 digits are dewpoint depression (DD); if the DD is =< 5.0
degrees, the code will give the ones and tenths digits
- Note that if DD > 5 are in whole degrees and are encoded by
adding 50 to the value e.g. 62 = 62 - 50 = 12
- in this example temperature is 20.0 deg C, DD is 7 deg C, and hence
the dewpoint is 13.0 deg C (20-7)
E
09008
E = Wind direction and speed (in this example, from 090 direction at 3
kt)
F
00099
• F = 00 identifies the 1000 mb data; the height of the 1000mb level
is 99 m above sea level
G
22860
- Temperature at 1000 mb is 22.8 deg C
- Dew point depression is 10 deg C (60-50)
- And hence Dew point temperature is 12.8 (22.8-10)

H
07011
- Wind direction : 070
- Wind Speed : 11 kt
I
92776
• 92 identifies the 925 mb data; in this case the height of the
925 mb level is 776 m

J K
20457 11516
L M N
85504 16216 18015

- L: 85 identifies the 850 mb level; in this case the height of the 850 mb level is 1504 m
(note that 1 is placed in front of 504)
- M: Temperature is 16.2
- Dew point Depression is 1.6 deg C
- Dew point temp is 14.6 deg C (16.2-1.6)

O P Q
70144 10871 27511
- O: 70 identifies the 700mb level; in this case the height of the 700 mb level is
3144 m ( place 2 or 3 in front of 144 depending on which value will yield a number
closer to 3 km)
R S T
50586 06765 30030
- R: 50 identifies the 500mb level; in this case the height of the 500 mb level is 5860 m
( place zero after 586)
- S : 06765; Temperature is minus 6.7 deg C, DD is 15 deg C (65-50) and Dew point
temp is minus 21.7 (-6.7-15)
MM NN OO
88999 --- -- -
MM = 88 indicates that the pressure of the tropopause follows; (in this case code
88999 means no tropopause is determined)

PP QQ RR
77424 30570 44026
- PP = 77 indicates that the pressure level of the maximum wind follows; in this case
- QQ = similar to group E
- RR = 4 indicates that the vertical wind shear data follow; the next 4 digits
represent the shear (in kt) 3,000 feet below and 3,000 feet above the level of
maximum wind
- SS = Additive data to follow