Weather Balloon Launch Houston, Texas

While waiting for shipping documents, we were invited by Kate Thompson to watch a weather balloon launch which is part of the ARM research project site in the Houston area.

The Scientific Site is moving in October out to La Jolla. CA for the next campaign. The sites move to areas of needed data collection.

This Houston (La Porte, Guy and Pearland) site is called TRACER and you can learn more about it here.

https://www.arm.gov/research/campaigns/amf2021tracer

We parked away from the site to prevent our gas fumes from effecting the aerosol data collection.
Kate Thompson (New Mexico connection) explains the site and instruments around us while the balloon is filling.
Helium is pumped into a gigantic latex weather balloon it will pop when the balloon reaches higher altitudes.
Vivian, Niles, Sarah and Gypsy prior to launch. You can see the data collection instrument in Viv’s left hand.

The weather balloons are launched every 4 hours. Our friend Kate is the Logistics coordinator here. There are over 100 instruments at the sites with many universities running data collection for many research projects.

Paul Ortega explained the plotting of data as the balloon rose.

Mark, the meteorologist on site explained that weather balloons are an old data collection method that will not be replaced. It’s the only way to collect real time data for pressure, humidity, and altitude which can then be associated with data collected by other instruments on site to expand research for meteorological studies like aerosols, weather, and behavior of the atmosphere in general.

Mark helping us understand the power of understanding the atmosphere.

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