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Vaisala RS80 sondes were deployed from Skukuza Airport, South Africa, to collect atmospheric sounding profiles of temperature and moisture data from the surface to 30 km. These sonde launches were coordinated to augment the regional sounding network in the region during the SAFARI 2000 Dry Season Campaigns of 1999 and 2000.

The radiosondes were launched from Skukuza Airport between August 14-September 3, 1999, and between August 24-September 23, 2000. The radiosonde instrument package RS80 measured the following meteorological parameters: pressure in hecto-Pascals (P), ambient temperature in degrees Celsius (T), and relative humidity in percentage (RH). A hydrostatic equation was applied to the recorded data, after error-checking, to calculate the following output parameters: height above sea level in meters, dew point temperature in degrees Celsius, and q (g/kg) which is specific humidity in grams per kilogram.

Data Citation:

Cite this data set as follows:

Swap, R. J., S. J. Piketh, K. Ross, M. Barenbrug, and K. A. Billmark. 2004. SAFARI 2000 Upper Air Meteorological Profiles, Skukuza, Dry Seasons 1999-2000. Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. doi:10.3334/ORNLDAAC/728.


Ross, K. E., S. J. Piketh, R. J. Swap, and R. M. Staebler. 2001. Controls governing airflow over the South African lowveld. South African Journal of Science, Volume 97(1-2): 29-40, Jan-Feb 2001.

Data Format:

The data files contain one radiosonde flight per file. The file naming convention is as follows:


where the first part of the file name stands for Skukuza sounding, followed by the date and time of launch. For example, the file skz_snd_20000826_0500.dat is a radiosonde flight on August 26, 2000, at 0500 GMT.

The data files are ASCII comma-delimited tables, with header lines containing the date and time and column names. Below is a description of the parameters within each data file. The parameters within the 1999 and 2000 data are not the same. The parameters highlighted in green (P and RH) are not included in the 2000 data files.

Column Name Definition Units
z(m) Height of the instrument package, above sea level meters
P(hPa) Pressure at the current height, in hPa. hPa
T(degC) Ambient temperature at the current height. degrees C
Td(degC) Dew Point temperature degrees C
RH(%) Relative Humidity percent
q(g/kg) Specific Humidity g/kg

Additional information about the data format, data processing, and instrument descriptions is found in the companion file:

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