ECMWF held a webinar on the use of radiosonde data in numerical weather prediction (NWP) on 30 April 2019. The webinar covered measurement techniques, the processing of radiosonde data and uncertainties in the data.
Almost 40% of radiosonde stations now provide high-vertical-resolution reports in BUFR format along with the position of each level. Accounting for the radiosonde drift in NWP systems improves the upper-level fit between radiosonde data and model fields. Radiosonde descent data (after balloon burst) look useful but will need extra quality control. ECMWF observation-minus-background statistics show some variations in quality between different radiosonde types and also clear variations with latitude. Larger differences in the tropical stratosphere are probably related to gravity wave activity.
The webinar speaker was senior ECMWF scientist Bruce Ingleby. Bruce works on the processing and assimilation of in situ observations. He has over 30 years of experience in many different aspects of data assimilation. He has been at ECMWF for the last five years and previously worked at the UK Met Office.
A recording of the one-hour webinar (a 45-minute presentation followed by a 15-minute Q&A session) is provided below.