Weather balloons

RV Investigator offers a platform for release of weather balloons and other airborne instruments to measure atmospheric properties.

What they're used for
A women lets go of a weather balloon from on the deck.

Deploying a weather balloon from RV Investigator.

Weather balloons carry weather instruments that can reach the upper atmosphere, provide precise measurements of meteorological elements such as temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction. These measurements provide vital information which enhance our understanding of the climate.

Data collected from weather balloons can be used to learn about current weather conditions, and help meteorologists to make weather forecast. They can also be used for other research purposes.

How they work

Weather balloons carry instruments called 'radiosondes': small, expendable instrument packages (weighing 200-500 grams) suspended below the weather balloon. The balloon itself is inflated with hydrogen gas.

As the weather balloon rises at around 300 m per minute, sensors on the radiosonde constantly transmit atmospheric observations and GPS position data to receiving equipment on board RV Investigator.

A typical weather balloon time of data collection (called a 'sounding') can last for over two hours.