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Global Radiosonde Data from the Met Office

Update Frequency: Daily
Latest Data Update: 2013-10-08
Status: Ongoing
Online Status: ONLINE
Publication State: Published
Publication Date: 2008-01-10
Download Stats: last 12 months
Dataset Size: 482.88K Files | 104GB


The global radiosonde data contains meteorological values measured at intervals of approximately 2 seconds. The data are reported up to twice daily (at 0000 and 1200 UTC). The data is collected by worldwide observation stations and transmitted within TEMP and PILOT messages. The dataset contains measurements of pressure, temperature, and wind speed and direction.

Citable as:  Met Office (2008): Global Radiosonde Data from the Met Office. NCAS British Atmospheric Data Centre, date of citation.
Abbreviation: Not defined


Previous Info:
No news update for this record
Previously used record identifiers:
Access rules:
Restricted data: please submit an application using the REQUEST ACCESS link for access.
Use of these data is covered by the following licence: When using these data you must cite them correctly using the citation given on the CEDA Data Catalogue record.
Data lineage:

Data are transmitted from source as TEMP and PILOT messages. These are received by the Met Office and stored in the Met Office's MetDB system. Daily extractions from the MetDB system are sent to the BADC, converted to Nasa-Ames format and ingested.

Data Quality:
Data are from an operational system, but are not quality checked at the point where extracted by the BADC.
File Format:
These data are NASA Ames formatted.

More Information (under review)


This entity contains the following meteorological values:

  • Air pressure
  • Altitude of radiosonde
  • Air temperature
  • Dew-point temperature
  • Direction of wind wave velocity
  • Wind speed
  • Details of the specific launch stations are also included in this dataset. These parameters include:

  • Launch Station Height (m)
  • Launch Station Latitude (degrees North)
  • Launch Station Longitude (degrees from Greenwich meridian)
  • Launch Station WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) number
  • Launch Station name
  • Launch Station country
  • The dataset consists of multiple folders which correspond to a single country of observation, within which there are separate folders indicating the region/city of the launch station location.

    Air pressure is given in units of pascal.

    Altitude is measured in units of metres. Altitude is the (geometric) height above the geoid, which is the reference geopotential surface. The geoid is similar to mean sea level.

    Air temperature is given in units of Kelvin, and is also known as Dry-bulb temperature.

    Dew point temperature is given in units of Kelvin. Dew point temperature is the temperature at which a parcel of air reaches saturation upon being cooled at constant pressure and specific humidity.

    Direction of wind wave velocity is measured from ture North and given in degrees.

    Wind speed is measured in units of metres per second. Speed is the magnitude of wind velocity.

    Wind is defined as a two-dimensional (horizontal) air velocity vector, with no vertical component.

    Measurements are reported at standard and significant pressure levels.

    1. Standard Pressure Levels: 1000, 925, 850, 700, 500, 400, 300, 250, 200, 150, 100, 70, 50, 30, 20 and 10 mb.
    2. Significant Pressure Levels: These are levels added to give a clearer picture of the measured profile. For example at the top and bottom of an inversion, large changes in wind, temperature or humidity may well be missed by the standard levels. The surface and the highest level of the sounding are mandatory significant levels. Additional levels are also added to ensure that linear interpolation yields values of temperature which do not differ from the observed value by 1 degree C below 300 hPa and 2 degrees C after that.

    Data availability and file format

    This data is from the Met Office MetDB database. It is reformated to NASA Ames at the BADC.

    Details of the WMO Meteorological codes used at weather observing stations (daily and hourly weather) explain the codes used in this dataset further.

    The Met office Fact Sheet #13 – Upper Air Observations gives further information as to the data collected by radiosondes.

    Related Documents

    No documents related to this record were found.

    Process overview

    This dataset was generated by instruments deployed on platforms as listed below.

    Instrument/Platform pairings

    Radiosonde Deployed on: MIDAS Global Radiosonde Network
    Radiosonde Deployed on: TEMP Station Network
    Radiosonde Deployed on: PILOT Station Network
    Output Description


    • long_name: Station Height
    • gcmd_url:
    • gcmd_keyword: Station Height
    • names: Station Height,
    • units: None
    • names: air_pressure
    • units: None
    • names: air_temperature
    • units: None
    • names: altitude
    • var_id: axis_150
    • var_id: axis_17
    • var_id: bounds_axis_150
    • var_id: bounds_axis_17
    • var_id: bounds_hybrid
    • var_id: bounds_longitude
    • var_id: bounds_t
    • units: None
    • names: dew_point_temperature
    • units: None
    • names: direction_of_wind_wave_velocity
    • units: level
    • var_id: hybrid
    • units: degrees_east
    • var_id: longitude
    • var_id: t
    • var_id: udiff_new_minus_old
    • names: udiff_new_minus_old
    • var_id: vdiff_new_minus_old
    • names: vdiff_new_minus_old
    • units: None
    • names: wind_speed

    Co-ordinate Variables

    Temporal Range
    Start time:
    End time:
    Geographic Extent

    Related parties
    Authors (1)
    Principal Investigators (1)