Dropsondes: Workhorses in Hurricane Forecasting

Dropsondes: Workhorses in Hurricane Forecasting

Credit: NSF

Watch this video and learn how dropsondes are engineered to withstand the brutal force of a hurricane, providing data useful to weather researchers and forecasters. Small tubes filled with instruments to measure temperature, pressure, humidity, and wind are released from airplanes over the storm and then drop through the fierce winds recording data along the way. A small parachute keeps the instruments from dropping too quickly.

This video also shows how dropsondes are tested in wind tunnels to make sure they, and their parachutes, work properly. The video also includes a short clip of a balloon that was used to release dropsondes in Antarctica.

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