NOAA National Weather Service

Radiosonde Network Data Quality


The Observing Systems Branch monitors upper-air station performance through analysis of operational soundings, flight summary data, and reports prepared by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).  When problems are identified, the station or radiosonde manufacturer is notified and corrective action is taken if necessary.  

NCEP Products

NCEP Data Quality Reports - Latest monthly upper-air performance summaries for each NWS station bases on data received at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction.  Used for creating data quality graphics and station rankings.

Real-time Upper-air Data Receipt at NCEP - Real-time log of upper-air data messages received at NCEP.  Updated daily every 15 minutes between 12:45Z and 14:00Z for the 12:00Z observations and between 00:45Z and 02:00Z for the 00:00Z observations. 

NCEP Super-Adiabatic Lapse Rate Reports-   These monthly reports help identify soundings with significant super-adiabatic lapse rates in the temperature data.

NCDC Products

NCDC Data Quality Reports - Latest monthly upper-air performance summaries for each NWS station based on the monthly  archive data sent to the National Climatic Data Center. 

NCDC Upper-air Data Quality Summary Report - Latest monthly summary of flight performance and data errors detected by NCDC.  This product is used to generate the NCDC Error Index scores for each site. 

NCDC Error Index Score - Latest monthly Data Error Index scores for each NWS station based on the NCDC Data Quality Reports.  NOTE: The lower the score, the fewer the data errors found.

WSH Observing Systems Branch Products

Observer Data Quality Control - Guidelines observers must follow to ensure high quality upper air observations.

Station Reliability Scores - This score helps identify stations with high numbers of missed flights and flights that did not reach 400 mb.

Station Performance Scores - Upper-air station performance scores based on the NCEP reports.

FAQ - Frequently asked questions about NWS upper-air data quality control and station performance scores.

WSH Observing Systems Branch Special Studies  

Study #1 - Identifying erroneous data in upper-air soundings.

Study #2- Observations of Significant Variations in Radiosonde Ascent Rates Above 20 km.  A Preliminary Report.

Study #3 - Seasonal changes in temperature data errors.

Study #4 - Introduction of height differences with change in radiosonde type.


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