Radio Soundings Even from the Harshest and Remotest of Locations

First AS41 balloon launch in Australia Bureau of Meteorology
Matti Lehmuskero
Matti Lehmuskero
Offering Manager, Soundings

Better weather prediction has far-reaching socioeconomic benefits, as high-quality atmospheric observations provide data that is necessary for accurate forecasting. Accurate data helps anticipate and prepare for the impacts of weather, and automatic sounding stations are an important tool in making meteorological data available even from difficult locations.

Strengthening the global leadership in automatic soundings gained over 25 years, Vaisala introduced its next-generation automatic sounding system Vaisala AUTOSONDE® AS41 in October 2018. One of the first customers of AS41 is the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, for which Vaisala has delivered sounding systems for two decades.

Vaisala AUTOSONDE® AS41 is designed to work reliably even in the harshest of conditions and in the remotest of locations. The system allows fully automated sounding operations with low operating costs, remote flexible operation, as well as easy installation. AS41 is designed for one-month automation at a time, more than doubling the automation time compared to previous systems. This allows for national meteorological services to extend the coverage of their upper-air networks to geographically remote and hard-to-reach locations.

Continuous, High-quality Soundings Data

AS41 enables meteorological institutes to create high-quality sounding profiles with Vaisala RS41 radiosondes. On a worldwide scale, RS41 is the only radiosonde that is built on in-house, custom-built temperature and humidity sensors that are designed for atmospheric soundings.

The ability to launch 60 of these radiosondes fully automatically provides customers with high-quality and reliable sounding data continuously. It is fast and easy to load, taking the operator only three minutes to load one radiosonde and weather balloon to the system. Remote control makes it possible to free up resources for other critical weather and forecasting operations.

“The system allows fully automated sounding operations with low operating costs, remote flexible operation, as well as easy installation. The new Vaisala AUTOSONDE® AS41 will allow for 60 upper air soundings to be performed automatically with a work effort of half a day,” explains Bryan Hodge, General Manager, Observing Systems and Operations at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 

Enthusiasm in the Market

Overall, customers have received the new AS41 with enthusiasm. The first deliveries of the new systems started in the beginning of 2019 when Vaisala signed the contract with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The deal comprises 13 Vaisala AUTOSONDE® AS41 automatic sounding systems – the world’s largest single order of such systems.

In addition to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the number of delivered systems  already makes Vaisala  the leader in automatic sounding solutions – not to mention the interest that AS41 has generated during its first six months.

Image credit: Australian Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the 1st AS41 balloon launch in Australia

About the Author

Matti Lehmuskero is an Application Manager at Vaisala with over 18 years of experience in sounding systems and radiosondes. He has worked in research and development projects, product management, and sales projects. Lehmuskero has a Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Joensuu.

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