Speed of Sound Measure Gives (NOAA ) satellites since 1979 to monitor monthly Atmospheric Temperature temperature variations over the globe to a mean Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric accuracy of 0.01 degree Centigrade, setting a stan- Administration's (NOAA) Environmental Research dard against which future temperature trends will be Laboratories (ERL) are deducing upper air tempera- measured. Whil e future global temperature variations were not specifically addressed, the decade 1979-88 tures by measuring the speed of sound in the atmo- sphere with the Radio Acoustic Sounding System, a showed no net warming or cooling trend. process that may eventually be part of a remote The NOAA data had been used previously for sensing system supplementing balloon-borne instru- localized weather forecasting, which involved only ment packages now used by the National Weather small portions of the data. By developing a 10-year Service. data record with global coverage, Spencer and Christy have improved upon the surface thermometer net- Upper air temperatures are being deduced at vary- ing altitudes as frequently as three times an hour by work currently used to monitor temperature. using Doppler radar to remotely measure the speed Thermometers are largely restricted to populated of sound in the
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jun 1, 1990
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