The National Weather Service (NWS) is modernizing its systems for collecting and processing the upper-air information used to make weather predictions. The program will take 5 years and cost $6.5 million. Under the program, NWS will convert from a manual to an automatic system for entering the data collected at its 114 nationwide field stations into minicomputers for processing. Electronic systems at the field stations will be converted from vacuum tubes to solid state.
The NWS field stations track weather and receive data for processing from balloon-lofted radio devices, called radiosondes. The radiosonde consists of sensors that detect temperature, relative humidity, and pressure at altitudes of 90,000 feet or higher.