BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Assessing the Impact of Instrument Changes on Critical Atmospheric Measurements
Published: July 20, 2016
Posted: August 12, 2016

Measurements of temperature and humidity profiles are critical to a range of atmospheric and climate studies. ARM scientists assess the impacts of instrument changes on these measurements.

The Science
Manufacturers are continuously upgrading and updating their instrumentation. Changes in sensitivity or performance characteristics of observational instruments can have big impacts on scientific studies that use data from two different instrument versions. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility performed a careful study to assess the impacts of a new version of the radiosonde sensor, a critical instrument for measuring profiles of atmospheric temperature and humidity.

The Impact
A comparison of 20 twin-radiosonde balloon flights shows that the new (RS41) and older (RS92) radiosonde sensors generally agree within the manufactured-defined uncertainties of the instruments. Exceptions were noted after traversing liquid cloud layers where instrument wetting and evaporative cooling impacts were mitigated in the RS41. For many science applications, a switch from the RS92 to RS41 will likely have little impact.

Summary
In June 2014, 20 twin-radiosonde balloon flights were performed at the ARM Southern Great Plains site to evaluate and quantify differences in atmospheric state variable measurements from the current-generation Vaisala RS92 and next-generation RS41 radiosondes. Complementary observations from the ARM site were used to put these measurements in context, including Ka-band ARM zenith radar (KAZR) observations for documenting cloud occurrence and microwave radiometer observations for integrated water vapor. Efforts were made to sample the diurnal cycle and a variety of cloud and weather conditions. The results show small biases and root mean square differences between the radiosonde measurements over all conditions and heights. A closer examination shows that when exiting liquid cloud layers the RS41 measurements show less impact related to instrument wetting and evaporative cooling.

Contacts (BER PM)
Sally McFarlane
ARM Program Manager
Sally.McFarlane@science.doe.gov

(PI Contact)
Michael Jensen
Brookhaven National Laboratory
mjensen@bnl.gov

Funding
This research was supported by the Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research as part of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility, a DOE user facility.

Publication
Jensen, M. P., D. J. Holdridge, P. Survo, R. Lehtinen, S. Baxter, T. Toto, and K. L. Johnson. 2016. “Comparison of Vaisala Radiosondes RS41 and RS92 at the ARM Southern Great Plains Site,” Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 9, 3115-29. DOI: 10.5194/amt-9-3115-2016. (Reference link)

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research
  • Facility: DOE ARM User Facility

Division: SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
Objectives

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)