United Nations Say Weather Balloons Are Important For Climate Monitoring
The UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has said weather balloons provide vital information for climate monitoring and forecasters.
This follows reports about Canada and the United States shooting down several flying objects, including an alleged Chinese “spy balloon,” inside their borders.
On Thursday, US President Joe Biden said three unmanned aerial objects shot down last weekend by the US military were “most likely tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions.”
More than 50 satellites collect information from space, and about 400 aircraft operated by some 40 commercial aircraft companies gather input from the skies, WMO noted on Friday last week.
Every day, free-rising latex balloons are released simultaneously from almost 900 locations worldwide. Nearly 1 000 balloons gather daily observations that provide input in real-time.
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The valuable information gathered by weather balloons contributes to computer forecast models, local data for meteorologists to make forecasts and predict storms, climate monitoring and data for research to better understand weather and climate processes.
Computer forecast models that use weather balloon data are used by all forecasters worldwide, WMO said.
Equipped with battery-operated radiosondes that capture observations, the floating information collectors are airborne for around two hours.
They measure pressure, wind velocity, temperature and humidity from just above the ground, to heights of up to 35 kilometres, sustaining temperatures as cold as -95°C (-139°F), before bursting and falling back to Earth under a parachute.
Playing a key role as part of the world’s global observing network for decades, they are the primary source of above-ground data. More than two-thirds of weather balloon stations make observations twice a day and another 100 and 200 reports daily.