Weather balloons don’t always have to cause international panic. One Redditor shared their enthusiasm when a downed weather balloon and radiosonde, the small instrument suspended below the balloon, ended up in their driveway.
“I found a weather balloon in our driveway today,” the user wrote in their caption.
The base of the balloon said, “Harmless Weather Instrument,” with a URL for learning more about the balloon online. An informational caption at the bottom read, “This is a radiosonde, a balloon-borne instrument used by the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) to obtain data aloft for weather forecasts and research. IT IS NOT DANGEROUS. Please do not return the NWS. Recycle or dispose of properly.”
Weather balloons from the National Weather Service and other countries’ weather monitoring organizations help collect data for weather prediction, track air pollution, and provide information about the changing climate, according to Weather.gov.
Tracking weather patterns is particularly important as impactful weather events increase in frequency and affect populations worldwide, thanks to the dangerous overheating of our planet.
Other Reddit users shared information about weather balloons in the comment section of the post.
“This is the new model … you can contact your local NWS office if you want but they don’t need them back,” one user wrote. “Twitter is your best bet for your local office contact … I’d be stoked to have one. They send [off] two of those per day per regional office and that little box is where your entire weather forecast basically comes from.”
“People chase these down for fun. They aren’t expected to be returned and a lot of hobby weather people who are also interested in amateur radio will reuse the devices as their own weather lab or other projects,” another user commented. “They can be reprogrammed or the sensors repurposed. Cool find, I hope to go tracking someday and find my own.”
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