Radiosonde balloon ‘will improve forecast’

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

Jun 21, 2018-

Marking a landmark event in the country’s weather prediction history, a radiosonde balloon was released in the sky of Kathmandu on Wednesday.

The radiosonde balloon or weather balloon was released from the Tribhuvan University (TU) ground at 5:37.

Weather experts called it a step towards improving the credibility of the weather prediction in the country.

“There have been complaints of our weather forecast being not all too reliable. This is because of data deficit situation on weather condition. This is a big stride towards improving our

weather prediction by having reliable data,” said Rishi Ram Sharma, director general of the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DoHM).

This is not the first time the country has used weather balloons for weather prediction. The system was used for the first time in 1978, but it was discontinued that same year.

Officials said they intended to release weather balloons regularly for weather prediction from now on.

“Radiosonde is an instrument that collects and transmit data from remote places. It is connected with a balloon filled with hydrogen. The balloon lift the connected sensor to the stratosphere for gathering weather condition in the atmosphere and relay the data back to the station,” Sharma said.

Radiosonde transmits data on temperature, pressure, wind direction and speed, relative humidity, cosmic ray in the atmosphere and the altitude of the balloon for accurate weather forecast.

A GPS device is attached to the balloon to locate the sensor. The weather balloon released on Wednesday morning achieved an elevation of 19km before falling down somewhere near Sundarijal at around 8:15 a.m.

“As the radiosonde could fall at any place, a message explaining about its purpose has been written on the it so that people do not tamper with it,” said DG Sharma.

The DoHM and Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology of the TU are coordinating in the project.

The DoHM has allocated a budget of Rs 40 million for releasing weather balloons in sky everyday, for the next two years.

Published: 21-06-2018 07:22

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