The TBS is composed of a variety of winches, balloons, and instrumentation and is used to collect in situ data related to horizontal wind, ice microphysics, turbulence, thermodynamic state, aerosols, and cloud top environment. The TBS can operate up to 7,000 feet above ground level, but instrumentation deployed and deployment times depend highly on current environmental conditions. The TBS operates intermittently between April and November.
Aerostats, helikites, and meteorological balloons are the three main systems used to collect the in situ data. Aerostats are much larger than helikites and can hold weights from 8-27 kg. They are not launched in sustained surface wind speeds of more than 7 m/s, and are retrieved if wind speeds aloft are more than 15 m/s. See below for a picture of an aerostat:
A helikite can hold weights of less than 27 kg and are not operated above 500 meters above ground level. They are not launched in sustained surface wind speeds of more than 11 m/s. See below for a picture of a helikite:
Finally, tethered meteorological balloons are used for research that involved small, lightweight instruments.
A variety of information and data can be collected depending on the sensors deployed on the TBS. Typical sensors include tethersondes to collect thermodynamic and wind-speed measurements, wetness sensors to indicate the presence of water (and its state), supercooled liquid water content sensors, and radiosondes. The TBS also includes a ground-based, continuously operating station that measures surface pressure, relative humidity, temperature, and 1 minute averaged wind speeds.
* For more information see the TBS Instrument web page.
The TBS metrics should be mostly green across the board. Any flags of bad data could indicate a problem. These metrics are for the continuously running ground station. Data collected from balloon launches will be more intermittent.
The TBS plots shown below are for the continuously running ground station at OLI. Each of the plots show air pressure, temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed, along with the corresponding maximums and minimums. Each of these plots also include data plotted from the nearby MET instrument, which can be used as comparison.
The recorded values at the ground station should fall between the corresponding maximums and minimums and trend closely with the MET plots.
This instrument is currently located at SGP and was at AMF3 at OLI. ARM was granted restricted airspace at Oliktok Point, and it is not currently known if the same will happen at the new AMF3 site.
List of known issues for this instrument that MAY NOT need to be mentioned in your DQA's:
Document some here.
List of past problems for this instrument that DO need to be mentioned in your DQAs:
Document some here.