Monday, November 28, 2022


      Since I've been on a run of weather topics lately, it reminded me of an experience I had with the radiosonde balloon.

     Weather stations have been situated across Canada for many years. Part of the weather stations tools is a radiosonde balloon. This balloon is equipped with devices that measure things like temperature, wind, air pressure, humidity  and more. The radio in this balloon sends the information back to the ground where is is recorded and combined with all other weather information used to make weather forecasts. 

     The balloon is prepared for it's flight by being filled with hydrogen or some other gas. When the equipment is ready the balloon is released. All the balloons across Canada were released at the same time. Depending on conditions , it may rise about 20 km (12.5 mi). . Depending on wind it may travel many miles horizontally. Eventually the balloon will burst and the flight is over. Some balloons have a parachute .Yes, people sometimes find the remains of these balloons. 

     There was a weather station at one of the places I lived in the Arctic. In one of the science classes I taught , there was a unit on weather. I always took the kids out to the radiosonde station to see a balloon prepared and released. It was always a popular field trip. 

     My field trips to the radiosonde station took place in the early 60's. When I did some research for this post I was surprised to find out that the radiosonde technology is still in use with a few more things added to measure. I thought that satellite technology would have made the radiosonde obsolete.