Weather balloon found in backyard


CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s definitely something you don’t see everyday and it was found in the backyard of a Chicopee firefighter.

It’s part of a weather balloon that Lieutenant Bill Anderson first found in his backyard in Granby this summer.

“We were sitting by a campfire and I found the balloon and that was about two months a part and then I was in my backyard and I found the piece on the ground in my back yard the other day,” said Lt. Bill Anderson of the Chicopee Fire Department.

Lieutenant Anderson saw that it said “weather instrument” on it and brought it to the 22News Storm Team. We determined that it was a weather balloon or radiosonde, and after speaking to the National Weather Service in Albany, New York they believed it was likely launched from their office.

A radiosonde, which contains a small package of weather instruments is attached to the weather balloon. Sensors in the radiosonde transmit pressure, temperature, relative humidity and GPS position data each second as the balloon rises up into the atmosphere.

“These weather balloons are critical in figuring out what’s happening above our heads, we know quite a bit about what’s happening on the ground but there’s so much information missing that goes into the computer models,” said 22News Storm Team Meteorologist Nick Bannin.

Data from the weather balloons is also used to create what are called soundings. They show us what is happening in the atmosphere.

Weather balloons are capable of rising to an altitude of 115,000 feet and can drift more than 180 miles away from where they were launched.

If you find a weather balloon in your yard there is usually a bag attached to it so you can send it back to the National Weather Service.

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