Radiosonde descent profiles have been available from tens of stations for several years now – mainly from Vaisala RS41 radiosondes. They have been compared with the ascent profiles, with ECMWF short-range forecasts and with co-located radio occultation retrievals. Over this time, our understanding of the data has grown, and the comparison has also shed some light on radiosonde ascent data. The fall rate is very variable and is an important factor, with high fall rates being associated with temperature biases, especially at higher altitudes. Ascent winds are affected by pendulum motion; on average, descent winds are less affected by pendulum motion and are smoother. It is plausible that the true wind variability in the vertical lies between that shown by ascent and descent profiles. This discrepancy indicates the need for reference wind measurements. With current processing, the best results are for radiosondes with parachutes and pressure sensors. Some of the wind, temperature and humidity data are now assimilated in the ECMWF forecast system.
On the quality of RS41 radiosonde descent data
Ingleby, B., Motl, M., Marlton, G., Edwards, D., Sommer, M., von Rohden, C., Vömel, H., and Jauhiainen, H.
by Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT) at 2022-01-11