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Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith tells the story of our storm warning system. See our online store book collection.
This photo shows the launch of a weather balloon during a field project in Niger, Africa in 2006.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research/Terry Hock

Weather Balloons

Weather balloons are used to carry weather instruments that measure temperature, pressure, humidity, and winds in the atmosphere.

The information collected from the instruments on weather balloons are used to learn about the weather conditions and to help meteorologists to make weather forecasts. Sometimes weather balloons are also used to collect data for other scientific research projects about things like air pollution or climate change.

To gather information for weather forecasts, weather balloons are launched twice a day, every day, from 800 locations around Earth. They are launched at the same time all over the world. The balloons rise more than 24.14 kilometers (15 miles) into the air while collecting data.

Once the instruments collect data, this information is sent back to weather stations on the ground so scientists can use the data.

Last modified June 11, 2010 by Becca Hatheway.

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