CW3E Observations

Surface Meteorology
MicroRain Radars
Disdrometers
Wind Profilers
Radiosondes

Radiosondes

CW3E’s radiosonde launch stations are positioned across various watersheds in the western United States to support Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO). These stations play a crucial role in studying the development and intensity of atmospheric rivers (ARs) making landfall in the U.S. West Coast. During storm events, CW3E attaches radiosondes to weather balloons to collect observations of pressure, temperature, wind speed and direction, and humidity as the weather balloon ascends into the atmosphere to a height of approximately 25,000 meters (82,000 ft). The radiosondes are launched every three hours during storm conditions, but can be more frequent during periods of interest. The data are sent to the Global Telecommunications System and are available for assimilation into operational global weather models.

Click here to learn more details about our radiosondes.

CW3E would like to acknowledge our sponsors as well as our partners and collaborators that supported these instruments and allowed the deployment of these stations on their property. For more information about CW3E’s sponsors and collaborators on the radiosondes, please see the bottom of the page.

An archive of CW3E collected radiosonde data and images are available via Google Drive here or online here.

If you would like to be added to the distribution list that receives summaries of every radiosonde campaign, or for any questions about the data, please email cw3e-fieldwork-g@ucsd.edu.

Plot description: The Skew-T Log-P diagram displays temperature (red line, °C) and dew point (blue line, °C) measured by the radiosonde as it ascends through the atmosphere. Observed winds are shown by wind barbs (knots) on the right. Parameters listed at the top calculated via the profile include the Lifting Condensation Level pressure (LCL P) and temperature (LCL T), Showalter Index (SWI), Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE), Integrated Water Vapor (IWV), Integrated Water Vapor Transport (IVT), and height of the 0°C isotherm. The right plot shows the water vapor flux (g/kg*m/s) observed throughout the atmosphere. For an in-depth explanation of how to read skew-t plots, please see NOAA’s explanation of Skew-T Log-P Diagrams and Skew-T Plots.

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Our sponsors and collaborators

We would like to acknowledge our sponsors as well as our partners and collaborators that supported these instruments and allowed the deployment of these stations on their property.

In support of Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO), CW3E has been sponsored by US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to operate several radiosonde launch stations across various watersheds in the western United States.

In the Santa Ana watershed of southern California, CW3E partners with San Bernardino County Public Works (SBCPW) and USC’s Wrigley Marine Science Center (WMSC) to operate two launch stations in support of FIRO at Prado Dam and Seven Oaks Dam. Additionally, the assistance of the security team at Seven Oaks Dam is instrumental in facilitating station access throughout storm events.

In the Russian River watershed in northern California, CW3E partners with UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory and the Ukiah Water Treatment Plant to operate two launch stations in support of FIRO at Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma.

In the Yuba-Feather watershed in northern California, CW3E partners with Yuba Water Agency to operate one launch station in support of FIRO at New Bullards Bar and Lake Oroville.

In the Green River watershed in Washington, CW3E partners with Tacoma Water to operate one launch station in support of FIRO at Howard Hanson Dam.

The products are provided “as is” and are intended for research purposes only (disclaimer). All products on this page are considered experimental.