The development of the “Storm Tracker” and its applications for atmospheric high-resolution upper-air observations

Hwang, Wei-Chun; Lin, Po-Hsiung; Yu, Hungjui

In this study, we introduce a newly developed upper-air observational instrument for atmospheric research. The “Storm Tracker” is an ultra-lightweight (about 20 g including battery), multi-channel simultaneous capable radiosonde designed by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at National Taiwan University. Developed in 2016, the Storm Tracker aims to provide an alternative for observing atmospheric vertical profiles with a high temporal resolution, especially the lower-level atmosphere under severe weather conditions such as extreme thunderstorms and tropical cyclones.

Field experiments were conducted as trial runs in Wu-Chi, Taichung, Taiwan, to examine the ability of the Storm Tracker to observe the boundary layer, in addition to the intercomparison between the Storm Tracker and the widely used Vaisala RS41-SGP radiosonde. Among the co-launches of the Storm Tracker and Vaisala RS41 radiosondes, the measurements of pressure, wind speed, and wind direction are highly consistent between the measurements of the Storm Tracker and the Vaisala RS41-SGP. However, a significant daytime warm bias in the Storm Tracker was found due to solar heating. A metal shield specifically for the Storm Tracker was thus installed and showed mitigation for the warm biases and the overall variance.

With the much lower costs of the radiosondes and the simultaneous multi-channel receiver, the Storm Tracker system has shown great potential for high-frequency observational needs in atmospheric research.

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Hwang, Wei-Chun / Lin, Po-Hsiung / Yu, Hungjui: The development of the “Storm Tracker” and its applications for atmospheric high-resolution upper-air observations. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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