Tuesday, November 23, 2010

National Weather Service Radiosonde Found!

Guess what we found in our woods?  A radiosonde released by the National Weather Service!

First, some history on radiosondes:

For over 60 years, upper air observations have been made by the National Weather Service (NWS) with radiosondes. The radiosonde is a small, expendable instrument package that is suspended below a 2 meter (6 feet) wide balloon filled with hydrogen or helium. As the radiosonde is carried aloft, sensors on the radiosonde measure profiles of pressure, altitude, geographical position (Latitude/Longitude), temperature, relative humidity, wind (both wind speed and wind direction), and cosmic ray readings at high altitude.  The weight of a radiosonde is typically 250 g (8.8 oz). It should also be noted that the average radiosonde is lost and never recovered.

Worldwide there are more than 800 radiosonde launch sites. Most countries share data with the rest of the world through international agreements. In the United States the National Weather Service is tasked with providing timely upper-air observations for use in weather forecasting, severe weather watches and warnings, and atmospheric research. The National Weather Service launches radiosondes from 92 stations in North America and the Pacific Islands twice daily. It also supports the operation of 10 radiosonde sites in the Caribbean.

The radiosonde that we found was suspended by a rope, ranging in a tree.  It had the remains of a small balloon at the end of the rope.



We cut it out of the tree and brought it home for inspection.  It was released by the NWS from Sterling, VA on 9-23-10.
 

A message on the instrument requested it be returned to the NWS.  A prepaid envelope was inside the box.


The machine had various gauges on it for taking different readings.








We packaged it up and returned it so it can be reused by the NWS.


 
 

16 comments:

Farm Girl said...

That is so cool. I am such a weather nut and I love reading all about that kind of stuff, it just makes me laugh that you found one. I have read about them but had never seen one before.

Kessie said...

Wow! That is so cool! Almost like some kind of treasure, except you have to send it back.

I like how it says "Harmless Weather Instrument" all over it, so people don't think it's a bomb.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Wow ... not too many of us get to see one up close and personal!

CeeCee said...

Looks like a kid put it together--masking tape everywhere.
Very cool find. At first I thought it said "homeless" weather instrument.

frugalmom said...

Wow! That is pretty cool! The kids and I would love to find one of those on our property.

Was it recent, do you know?

Terry said...

Way cool!! My Dad was a meteorologist, and I like all things weather related.

Poconoangel said...

Very cool! I never heard of these things!

Verde Farm said...

Ok, that is totally cool. Did you know what it was when you found it? I've never heard of a radiosonde and this is a neat thing to know. I bet there is good luck in finding a radiosonde. Thanks for sharing :)
Amy

Toni aka irishlas said...

That's pretty cool! Never seen one before.

Happy Turkey Day!

Knatolee said...

I had never heard of these before. How cool! And good on you for sending it back. Thanks for sharing this.

Robin said...

Wow! That is amazingly cool.

Genny said...

Lynn, that's so cool -- reecylable weather equipment! Learn something new every day!

Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just found one of these out in the woods sitting on the ground as if it had been placed there. I unrolled the bag that I found, and realized the "garbage" I saw was actually something useful. I was a little afraid to touch it, because it was a chunk of styrofoam with a wire sticking out of it. But I plan to retrieve it tomorrow and mail it back to them.
I found mine on one of the forest service roads near Heber, AZ.
I find it a little thrilling, too. -Stacey E.

Razzberry Corner said...

Stacey - You are the only other person that I have ever heard from who found one of these! Congrats! Welcome to the radiosonde club!! :) Maybe we'll find some more people who found these things!
~Lynn

Anonymous said...

I bought one of these from a classmate back in grade school sometime during the late 70's. I think I paid him 5 dollars for it. He didn't have the parachute, just the instrument package. He said it was tangled in a tree and they had to cut the shroud lines of the chute to get the instrument package down. I kept it for a number of years, and opened it up and examined it. Not sure whatever finally happened to it though.

Sometime after that I actually saw another radiosonde descending from the sky on it's parachute and I chased it through the woods for a couple miles until I finally lost sight of it. Wish I could have found that one!