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Historical release of radiosonde balloons

2013-12-20, kl. 09:42

As part of a two-week research campaign, radiosonde balloons were recently released for the first time from Arena Arctica at Kiruna Airport.

The campaign is called Gravity Wave Lifecycle and is being carried out by the German Aerospace Centre, or DLR, in collaboration with the Institute for Atmospheric Physics at the University of Mainz. Researchers used a specially equipped aircraft of the type Falcon 20 and made up to 30 releases of radiosonde balloons. The aim of the campaign was to measure gravity waves in the air, which are intensified by westerly winds coming from the Scandinavian fjells. When gravity waves reach higher into the atmosphere, visual effects such as mother-of-pearl clouds and noctilucent clouds are produced. Radiosonde balloons that reach a higher altitude were therefore an important complement to airborne measurements.

The aircraft flew over the Arctic Ocean and elsewhere for measurements at an altitude of between 6 and 10 kilometres. These measurements were supplemented with information gathered by the radiosonde balloons from an altitude of 25-30 kilometres.

Releasing the balloons from Kiruna Airport, where the aircraft was stationed, made the researchers’ work easier, and it is a welcome new feature of operations there.