Integrated Sounding System

The Integrated Sounding Systems (ISS) is a self contained meteorological observing system at the Earth Observing Laboratory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The ISS combines surface, sounding, and remote sensing instrumentation to provide a comprehensive description of lower atmospheric thermodynamics and winds. The ISS are operated by the Atmospheric Profiling Group (APG) in EOL's In-Situ Sensing Facility.

The ISS includes a fully integrated set of the following instruments: a GAUS rawinsonde system; a radar wind profiler that provides near continuous, high-resolution measurements of horizontal and vertical wind components from the surface up through the boundary layer; a Radio Acoustic Sounding System (RASS) that provides profiles of virtual temperature up to around one kilometer; and an enhanced surface meteorological station that collects radiation and precipitation data in addition to standard measurements of temperature, pressure, humidity and wind, from a 10 meter tower. Each of the ISS include communications, data processing and display infrastructure to provide raw data and data products in real time or near real time to researchers remotely or on site.

The ISS are available in a variety of configurations:

  • The standard systems are typically deployed at fixed locations for periods of weeks to months.
  • The mobile system (MISS) is a trailer mounted system used for shorter, more rapid deployment such as storm chasing.
  • The ship-borne configuration is deployed on research vessels for ocean meteorology studies.
  • Two kinds of radar wind profiler are available:
  • RASS, a SODAR-RASS and a ceilometer are also available
  • Other instruments such lidars, distrometers, radiometers, cameras and other equipment can be added to suit any experiment.
  • Photo gallery of ISS and shipboard operations.
ISS portability enables deployments in a variety of temperate and tropical locations, from ships and remote islands to the arctic tundra. Currently up to four ISS are available for deployment.  More details are on the ISS Specifications page.

Field Projects

Recent and upcoming projects for the ISS include:

  • SWEX is a study of downslope "Sundowner" winds around Santa Barbara planned for spring 2020
  • CHEESEHEAD is forest-atmosphere ineraction study currently underway in northern Wisconsin
  • SAVANT was a stable boundary layer drainage flow study in Illinois in 2018
  • GRAINEX used two ISS for a study of the effect of agricultural irrigation on local weather in 2018
  • SOCRATES was a ocean/atmosphere study on board the Australian RV Investigator in the Southern Ocean in early 2018
  • IDEAL was a stable boundary study at the US Army Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah in 2017
  • Perdigao used two ISS for a wind energy study in Portugal in late 2016 until mid 2017.
  • PECAN used four ISS, three being fixed sites, one with the 449, and one mobile for a large storm study on the Great Plains in 2015.
  • DEEPWAVE used an ISS with a 449 MHz wind profiler gravity wave study in New Zealand in 2014.
  • METCRAX-II used an ISS with Doppler Wind Lidar for a wind study at Meteor Crater, Arizona in fall 2013.
  • SOAS used an ISS with Doppler Wind Lidar for a chemistry and climate study in Alabama in June and July 2013.
  • DC3 used MISS for a convective storm and chemistry study on the Great Plains in 2012.
  • DYNAMO used two ISS in the Indian Ocean to study the MJO in 2011 and 2012. One ISS was on the island of Diego Garcia and the other was on-board the Scripps R/V Revelle.
  • PCAPS using ISS to study cold pools in the Salt Lake valley, winter 2010-2011
  • PLOWS using MISS to chase winter storms in the upper Mid-West, winter 2009 and 2010
  • EDUCT using MISS on a education and mountain weather study in Virginia, April 2009
  • CPS using MAPR in tropical storm study in Miami, FL, summer 2008
  • AHATS boundary layer interaction in central California, summer 2008
  • CHATS, using the sodar-RASS to support a capony boundary layer study near Dixon CA, spring 2007
  • CLIMODE where we are on-board the Woods Hole research ship, the R/V Knorr, sailing into the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic in Feburary and March 2007
  • We were in Steamboat Springs, CO during Jan & Feb 2007 for the ISPA-2007 project using our MAPR system.
  • METCRAX at the Meteor Crater, Arizona, October 2006
  • Terrain-induced Rotors Experiment (T-REX) in the Owens Valley, California, March & April, 2006.
  • NAME project at three sites in Mexico, 2004.
  • Sierra Rotors Project in the Owens Valley, California, March & April, 2004.
  • International H2O Project (IHOP) in the Oklahoma panhandle May & June 2002.
  • Reno-2002, an educational project in Reno, NV, March 2002.
  • The ISPA-2001 and ISPA-2002 (Inhibition of Snowfall by Pollution Aerosol) projects at Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
  • IMPROVE-II project in Oregon, 2001.
  • The PROPHET-2000 and PROPHET-2001 projects at the University of Michigan Biological Station, Pellston MI.
  • VTMX (Vertical Transport and MiXing) in the Salt Lake Valley, Oct 2000.
  • Nauru99 on-board the R/V Mirai in the central Pacific in June 1999.
  • CASES-99 project in Kansas, 1999.
  • FASTEX on board the R/V Knorr and R/V Suroit in the North Altantic in 1997 and many others.


Available Instrumentation: 
Wind Profiler
Surface Data
Radar Wind Profiler
The NCAR Modular Wind Profiler Radar