Long-term Upper-Air Meteorology

in the Arctic (AWIPEV Research Base in Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen)

Radiosonde launch in Ny-Ålesund. (Photo: Kai Marholdt)

In Ny-Ålesund, radiosonde measurements are operated since 1991, with regular daily 12 UT launches since November 1992. However, it has been recognized that radiosonde measurements developed for weather forecast are subject to hardware and software changes following latest technology, and even procedural changes or reporting practices may have an effect on the homogeneity of the long-term data record. For the detection of climate change signals it is mandatory to rely on a consistent homogeneous dataset.

Applying various corrections, a homogeneous data record has been retrieved from the 'historical' radiosonde data, allowing the analyses of climatic changes in the atmospheric column above Ny-Ålesund. Currently, additional ground check measurements are performed prior to each radiosonde launch in order to assure reference quality data.

Annual cycle of tropospheric temperatures from radiosondes 1993 to 2014 in Ny-Ålesund.

Ny-Alesund Radiosondes: Reference Upper-Air Data

The inhomogeneity in the historical and active global radiosonde network added to the scientific evidence leading the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) to initiate the implementation of the GCOS Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN). By now, GRUAN has evolved and provides reference-quality upper-air data products. Ny-Ålesund has been the first radiosonde station certified by GRUAN, and the Ny-Ålesund reference-quality data are available via the GRUAN website. 

Proudly mounting the GRUAN emblem on the AWIPEV balloon house in Ny-Ålesund. (Photo: Holger Deckelmann)

Publication

Change of the winter mean (December-January-February) relative humidity from Ny-Ålesund radiosondes.

A manuscript on the long-term balloon-borne upper-air observations and related aspects of climate change is currently under review:
M. Maturilli, M. Kayser: Arctic Warming, Moisture Increase and Circulation Changes Observed in the Ny-Ålesund Homogenized Radiosonde Record. submitted to Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Juni 2015.

As a result of the high quality radiosoundings, the AWIPEV research base has been the first certified GRUAN station. Background about the reference network and the Ny-Ålesund contribution are published in

Bodeker et al.: Reference upper-air observations for climate: From concept to reality. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00072.1, in press.

Data

The homogenized Ny-Ålesund radiosonde data record 1993 to 2014 is available at the Pangaea Database, with reference doi: 10.1594/PANGAEA.845373

The high resolution radiosonde data in reference quality are available via the GRUAN webpage.

Please acknowledge accordingly.