For the retrieval of the meteorological parameters temperature, humidity, pressure and wind not only at the surface, but also in the vertical column, small instruments -sondes- are launched with a weather balloon. As the measured data are radio transmitted to the ground station during flight, the instruments are called radiosondes.
In Ny-Ålesund, daily 12 UT radiosonde launches are operated since 1993. Like all other available radiosonde data worldwide, the Ny-Ålesund data contribute to a central database used as input by weather forecast models. Thus, the Ny-Ålesund radiosondes e.g. also contribute to the weather forecast for Germany.
The radiosonde long-term data record allows to identify signals of climate change in the vertical column.
Daily radiosonde launches are also operated at Neumayer Station in Antarctica.