Measuring High Altitude Wind
 
 
At major airports and air stations all over the world wind velocity, direction, temperature and dew point measurements are made by balloons released at midnight and noon each day. Data is transmitted back to the ground for readings made every few hundred meters as the balloon rises. NOAA makes these figures available on the Web for all world sites right after the readings are taken, as do other agencies around the world.

The downloaded NOAA sheet below which we have annotated shows these readings for one day at the Miramar Naval Air Station the day before this text was written. It happened that wind velocities were above average for this date at San Diego. However, it is typical in that wind velocity within a few hundred feet of the ground almost never approaches that available at some higher altitude at any location. The notes on this sheet explain what the various columns of figures used in the computer calculations mean.A link to the NOAA site to select your own examples is: NOAA Radiosonde Data On the following link you will find helpful tips on some great graphical displays of this and other NOAA data: Additional NOAA Wind Data. You can probably find a site near your location in one of these available data sets.

 






NOAA Radiosonde Wind and Other Data

 

 

 

 


Miramar Station ID (San Diego)

 
254 0 27 NOV 2001

Wind Velocity in tenths of meters per second (m/s) 3.1 m/s = 6.9 mph. Speed too low for wind turbine even though too high an altitude for a tower mounted wind turbine

 
1 3190 72293 32.87 -117.15 134 99999

2 100 1730 2000 83 99999 3

3 NKX 4 ms

Altitude of balloon at reading pertaining to data on this line in meters (793)

 
9 10010 134 158 48 300 46

4 10000 141 156 46 300 46

6 9807 304 99999 99999 305 31

6 9455 609 99999 99999 315 26

5 9410 649 98 8 99999 99999

4 9250 793 94 -46 320 36

6 9115 914 99999 99999 325 36

5 8860 1147 66 -134 99999 99999

Wind Direction

In degrees West = 270

320 = NW

 

Pressure in tenths of millibars (9250)

 
6 8783 1219 99999 99999 325 72

4 8500 1487 50 -160 320 87

5 8210 1768 28 -142 99999 99999

6 8149 1828 99999 99999 310 98

6 7844 2133 99999 99999 315 103

6 7551 2438 99999 99999 320 123

6 7269 2743 99999 99999 315 154

Temperature in tenths of degrees Celsius (94)

 
4 7000 3045 -25 -105 315 175

5 6660 3438 -35 -235 99999 99999

21.6 m/s = 48.3 mph The 4267 meter altitude is below 15,000 feet yet wind power is very high, although unusually high for San Diego

 
6 6475 3657 99999 99999 310 159

6 6227 3962 99999 99999 310 159

5 6140 4071 -91 -291 99999 99999

6 5986 4267 99999 99999 315 216

5 5940 4326 -107 -287 99999 99999

Dew Point

(-46) Celsius

 
5 5570 4817 -123 -513 99999 99999

6 5527 4876 99999 99999 310 355

5 5360 5110 -113 -493 99999 99999

6 5102 5486 99999 99999 310 437

99999 means that for some reason given parameter not measured

 
5 5080 5519 -135 -425 99999 99999

4 5000 5650 -123 -453 310 432

44.8m/s =100.2 mph This 7620 meter altitude was the highest below 29,000 feet at which wind speed was measured that day. While this speed is exceptional , high winter velocities at this latitude are normal, yet less high than farther north.

 
5 4930 5757 -129 -429 99999 99999

6 4709 6096 99999 99999 305 437

4 4000 7300 -271 -321 300 417

6 3992 7315 99999 99999 300 417

5 3850 7574 -291 -323 99999 99999

6 3825 7620 99999 99999 300 448

5 3380 8488 -365 -435 99999 99999

5 3120 9036 -405 -454 99999 99999

6 3072 9144 99999 99999 305 576

4 3000 9310 -419 -479 305 597

6 2806 9753 99999 99999 310 705

8 2620 10208 99999 99999 310 710

4 2500 10520 -517 -587 310 684

6 2443 10668 99999 99999 310 669

6 2329 10972 99999 99999 310 653

6 2017 11887 99999 99999 315 468

4 2000 11940 -603 -673 315 463

7 2000 11940 -603 -673 315 463

6 1921 12192 99999 99999 310 442

Radiosonde balloon flight weather measurements are made at selected airports, air stations and other sites all over the world at midnight and noon each day and may be observed and/or downloaded using the web at raob.fsl.noaa.gov almost immediately thereafter for that day as well as for earlier periods going back for many years.

 
6 1743 12801 99999 99999 305 556