Probabilistic dynamics of a global horizontal sounding system

by R. Robert Rapp

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Development of a method for modeling the daily position of a world-wide distribution of constant-level balloons in a probabilistic fashion. The generalcirculation model of Mintz is used to generate estimates of the motion of 1000 balloons at about the 400-mb level for 45 days. Their location each day is expressed as the probability of being in one of 34 possible regions of the earth. The motions are specified by the transition probabilities from one region to another in a 24-hour period. The degree to which the probabilities computed from real balloon trajectories is discussed. It is then shown how probabilities such as these, but more appropriate to the real atmosphere, could be used to show how balloons would be distributed and how reasonable variants of the expected distribution could be computed. It is suggested that the exercise of this type of probabilistic model could lead to a rational strategy for launching balloons to attain an optimum distribution of balloons over the globe.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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