ARL Prepares to Launch Hurricane Research Balloons from Tybee Island, GA
The Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) is preparing to launch four specially-designed and equipped balloons from Tybee Island, Georgia around November 8. The launch is a part of the Weather/Hurricane In- situ Sea Surface Probe (WHISSP) project and is being conducted in partnership with the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), with support from ESRL’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems program. In cooperation with the Northern Gulf Institute at Mississippi State University, scientists with ARL’s Field Research Division will launch the balloons over a two-day period — weather permitting. The balloons will be intentionally kept at low altitude, moving with the wind close to the sea surface. Each balloon contains a sonde (small electronics with a GPS and communications capability) that will transmit data, such as altitude, barometric pressure, and position, via a military satellite to the MADIS server in Boulder, CO. The goal of the experiment is to test the ability of the balloons to transmit data via satellite from the ocean surface for several days or more. Results of the field experiment will be used to advance and develop the next phase of the WHISSP program.