Vaisala completes Alaskan NOAA sounding system project

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Vaisala will deliver eight fully automated sounding systems across the continental USA following the success of its project with NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS).

The project with NOAA automated upper-air observations in Alaska, and NOAA has now contracted Vaisala to deploy an additional eight Autosonde AS15s.

Matt Jones, vice president, weather and environment, Americas, Vaisala, said, “Manually launched radiosondes have been essential weather forecasting tools for decades. From time and cost savings and the ability to work in a wide range of climates and environments to equivalent data quality and availability, our project revealed that automating the process of releasing weather balloons makes good business sense for the NWS.”

The Alaska project saw the installation of Autosonde technology across 11 of the state’s upper-air stations as part of a broader agency initiative to migrate the signal used to transmit radiosonde data out of the radio frequency used by NOAA’s GOES satellites.

With the continental USA expansion, there will be eight operational Autosondes, in addition to two existing locations being used for training and logistics support.

Radiosondes have been used by the NWS for over 80 years and measure windspeed and direction, temperature and relative humidity, generating information meteorologists need to produce forecasts to protect life and property.

Radiosondes are launched twice a day at 92 sites across the USA, including 13 in Alaska, generating data to support downstream forecasts for the continental USA.

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