We were able to check the data the balloon collected in real time as the balloon rose. The figure to the left is a screenshot that shows temperature (red), pressure (green), and relative humidity (blue) as a function of time (the vertical axis). Notice that the balloon rose more slowly after 900seconds, as seen in the change in the slopes of the temperature (red) and pressure (green) curves. The slowdown happened right after the balloon passed through a cloud (see the relative humidity curve). This seemed to indicate an icing problem. As the temperature is below zero Celsius, ice can stick to the balloon, weighing it down. Our balloon survived though, reaching at least 20hPa, as Liping told us later.That was OUR sonde, Nov. 21, 12UTC, from Gan Island.
Monday, November 21, 2011
A balloon launch
Today, we (Tammy Weckwerth, Jean-Philllippe Duvel, Adam Sobel and I) had a tour of the ARM mobile facility with Liping Deng and launched a weather balloon with our signatures on it. ARM is the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program (now part of the Atmospheric System Research program) of the Department of Energy. We were able to visually track the balloon as it rose to as far as 300hPa (~9km). It took more than half an hour and was quite remarkable: the balloon was reflective enough that it looked like a little star in the sky, and even twinkled a bit from time to time. I lost track of the balloon after 300hPa but Jean-Phillippe apparently could still see it...