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Instruments in the VOCALS Field Campaign - Windows to the Universe

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Dropsondes carry instruments that measure temperature, humidity, air pressure, and wind speed. They are dropped on small parachutes from airplanes.
Image courtesy of UCAR.

Instruments in the VOCALS Field Campaign

Scientists use lots of instruments during the VOCALS field campaign. The instruments collect data about the atmosphere and the ocean. Some of the instruments are on satellites or airplanes. Other instruments are on ships or buoys in the ocean.

Radar measures wind speed and spots rainfall. It can also measure the sizes of water droplets in clouds. LIDAR is like radar but uses laser light instead of radio waves. LIDAR measures tiny aerosol particles and the "edges" of clouds.

Radiosondes and dropsondes carry instruments that measure pressure, altitude, temperature, humidity, and wind. They are lifted into the sky on balloons or dropped on parachutes from airplanes.

Cameras on airplanes and satellites take pictures of clouds and the sea surface. Radiometers measure the amount of sunlight reflected from cloud tops. They also measure infrared radiation coming from different levels in clouds and the atmosphere. They can find out how much light can pass through clouds. Spectrometers measure chemicals in the atmosphere and in aerosols.

Instruments towed by ship measure temperature, saltiness, and pressure in the ocean. A special kind of sonar collects data on ocean currents.

Last modified June 17, 2010 by Becca Hatheway.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF