When the radiosonde BUFR regulations were drawn up, there was a desire to move toward high-vertical-resolution reporting and to simplify the reporting structure.
The migration to BUFR also applies to surface and aircraft reports but for these the basic content and structure of BUFR reports are much the same as for the alphanumeric forms, with BUFR containing some extra metadata.
Two types of radiosonde reports in BUFR format are being exchanged globally.
Figure 3 shows that as of December 2015, ECMWF received BUFR reports (both native and reformatted) from about 70% of the approximately 820 radiosonde stations worldwide; only the presence of a report was considered, regardless of report quality.
Figure 4 shows the maximum number of levels per BUFR report, and Fig.
Thus, at present most BUFR radiosonde reports are reformatted TEMP reports.
Both TEMP and BUFR reports provide the "radiosonde type," specifying the manufacturer and radiosonde model, such as Vaisala RS92.
In general, NWP centers merge the different TEMP parts into a complete profile to aid in processing and quality control; having all the data in a single BUFR report is a significant advantage.
It is possible to estimate the drift from the reported winds and an assumed ascent rate, but it is much more satisfactory to use reported drift from BUFR.
To protect against this, ECMWF, JMA (for land surface reports), and FNMOC/NRL currently replace some or all BUFR positions with those from their position lists, based largely on WMO Publication 9A.
The Met Office NWP system was extended to process high-resolution BUFR data by Ingleby and Edwards (2015).
Recently, FNMOC/NRL started using most BUFR radiosonde reports (including those split into parts that most other NWP centers consider problematic).