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Stabilized weather balloons

In comparison with classical weather balloons, stabilized balloons remain always in laminar flow and are distinguished by a strong reduction of parasite movements as well in the vertical as in the horizontal axis. The result of this are two major consequences.

  • They allow to obtain excellent wind measures on reduced vertical intervals : an error lower than 0,5 m/s is typically obtained with GPS sondes on 100 meter layers, whereas this error is multiplied by a factor 4 with classical balloons.
  • With same wind conditions their ascent is much more vertical than with classical balloons. When ground conditions are bad (strong winds) they allow easier launchings than standard balloons which are submitted to parasite movements pushing the balloons to the ground. To reach an easiest way of launching by strong wind and bad conditions, these balloons may be delivered with “on line” dereelers allowing a launching by only one operator.

Classical weather balloons present in the troposphere a flow rate called supercritical which is characterized by important parasite movements as much in the vertical axis (ascent speed) as in the horizontal plane (4 to 5 m/s oscillations) following EW and NS components. These movements bring important errors on wind measures with GPS radiosondes and difficulties may also occur on launching by heavy wind conditions.

To solve these problems, stabilized balloons are equipped with a stabilization sail. It is easily fixed on the balloon’s upper hemisphere, and is bringing the flow to a non critical rate. The balloon is following a lot better the atmospheric flow and the absence of horizontal oscillations allows to obtain an accurate wind measure on layers with low thickness. Furthermore this type of balloon is ascending much more vertically than classical balloons and it is easier to launch them when ground conditions are bad due to strong winds.

Technical characteristics :

  • exists for each balloon dimensions from 100g to 2000g
  • are pre-equipped by the balloon's manufacturer
  • stabilization sail (and kit) is delivered separately
  • the sail is easily fixed on the balloon just before infalating on a point pre-determined at factory

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