Evaluation of wake influence on high-resolution balloon-sonde measurements
Balloons are used for various in situ measurements in the atmosphere. On turbulence measurements from rising balloons there is a potential for misinterpreting wake-created fluctuations in the trail of the balloon for atmospheric turbulence. These wake effects have an influence on temperature and humidity measurements from radiosondes as well. The primary aim of this study is to assess the likelihood for wake encounter on the payload below a rising balloon. Therefore, we present a tool for calculating this probability based on radiosonde wind data. This includes a retrieval of vertical winds from the radiosonde and an uncertainty analysis of the wake assessment. Our wake evaluation tool may be used for any balloon–gondola distance and provides a significant refinement compared to existing assessments. We have analysed wake effects for various balloon–gondola distances applying atmospheric background conditions from a set of 30 radiosondes. For a standard radiosonde we find an average probability for wake encounter of 28 %, pointing out the importance of estimating wake effects on sounding balloons. Furthermore, we find that even millimetre-sized objects in the payload can have significant effects on high-resolution turbulence measurements, if they are located upstream of the turbulence sensor.