Weather Balloons: Launching Daily

Our shipmate, Aerographer’s Mate Second Class (AW), Bill Dearing of the U.S. Navy, launches a weather balloon everyday.  The balloons gather data about the upper level winds, temperatures, relative humidity, and air pressure over the Arctic Ocean.  Amazingly, the Arctic is one of the most “data-sparse” regions of the earth in terms of weather information.  The data gathered by the radiosonde attached to the balloon are sent back to super computers at Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center in Monterey, CA, where scientists and modelers use the data to improve weather prediction numerical models.

Getting ready to inflate the balloon.

Bill Dearing and Liz, Marine Science Technician, help prepare the weather balloon for inflation.

Inflating balloon.

Inflating the balloon with the helium tank.

Balloon is inflated.

Bill Dearing holding the inflated weather balloon.

Ballon on helicopter pad.

Liz opens up the door while Bill takes the balloon out to the helicopter deck.

Ready to launch balloon.

Bill is ready to launch the weather balloon.



Balloon leaves the Healy

The weather balloon leaves the Healy.

The Balloon will float anywhere up to 65,000 to 80,000 feet where it will eventually burst due to the expanding helium inside the balloon stretching it to over full capacity.

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