What Does a Weather Balloon Do & Measure?

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A weather balloon is used by the National Weather Service to measure air temperature, barometric pressure and humidity. Learn about the instruments attached to a weather balloon with help from a meteorologist in this free video on understanding weather.

Part of the Video Series: Weather & Meteorology
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Video Transcript

Hello, today we are talking about what does a weather balloon do and how is it used. Weather balloons are used by the National Weather Service that is the branch of the government that is in charge of keeping all official weather records all across the country for all locations. And what the National Weather service does, they also do forecasting. And the way that they do the forecast, is they a couple of ways. They take a weather balloon twice a day they send it up into the sky. Attached to that weather balloon is a package of instruments called a radiosonde. And within this package of instruments it's measuring air temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, as that balloon goes up in the sky. So it's taking all of these readings at different levels of the atmosphere, that's very important to know, not only what's going on down here at the surface, but also what's going on as you go up. That information is put into computers. Those computers run that data through a series of programs and then the programs which are called computer models print out what they think will happen. So essentially a weather balloon is used number one to figure out what's going on currently on up on the atmosphere and then that data is put into a computer and then computer models of the forecast, of what the weather will do in the future will be right, run based on the information that comes out of that weather balloon.


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