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Measuring electrical properties of the lower troposphere using enhanced meteorological radiosondes

Harrison, R. G. ORCID: (2021) Measuring electrical properties of the lower troposphere using enhanced meteorological radiosondes. Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems Discussions. ISSN 2193-0864 (In Press)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5194/gi-2021-26


In atmospheric science, measurements above the surface have long been obtained by carrying instrument packages, radiosondes, aloft using balloons. Whilst occasionally used for research, most radiosondes - around one thousand are released daily - only generate data for routine weather forecasting. If meteorological radiosondes are modified to carry additional sensors, of either mass-produced commercial heritage or designed for a specific scientific application, a wide range of new measurements becomes possible. A programme to develop add-on devices for standard radiosondes, which retains the core meteorological use, is described here. Combining diverse sensors on a single radiosonde helps interpretation of findings, and yields economy of equipment, consumables and effort. A self-configuring system has been developed to allow different sensors to be easily combined, enhancing existing weather balloons and providing an emergency monitoring capability for airborne hazards. This research programme was originally pursued to investigate electrical properties of extensive layer clouds, and has expanded to include a wide range of balloon-carried sensors for solar radiation, cloud, turbulence, volcanic ash, radioactivity and space weather. For the cloud charge application, multiple soundings in both hemispheres have established that charging at the boundaries of extensive layer clouds is widespread, and likely to be a global phenomenon. This paper summarises the Christiaan Huygens medal lecture given at the 2021 European Geosciences Union meeting.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:101947
Publisher:European Geosciences Union

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