The Sterling Field Support Center’s primary mission is to test, evaluate, characterize, and analyze data from meteorological instrumentation for use in the National Weather Service (NWS) network. The paramount method used by the NWS for gathering upper air data is balloon-borne radiosondes. By utilizing the satellite information from the NPROVS program as a qualitative and quantitative analysis tool, in addition to a multitude of other tests, SFSC is able to characterize untested radiosondes at an extensive level.
The statistics gathered from comparing currently operational radiosondes to satellite data serve as a baseline which SFSC is able to use for future characterizations. Such information can help reveal underlying biases and low precision (noise) data when evaluating new radiosondes. This data is extremely useful in portraying the quality of data that one can expect from a type of radiosonde prior to deployment in the field. The comparison data process can also be applied to radiosondes, and eventually other observing platforms, outside of the NWS network to investigate potential observation improvements to the NWS network.