Ballooning in the Arctic

This article is part of the series “2023-06: Arctic Ocean cruise KPH”.

This is a balloon. This is a radiosonde.

This is an inflated balloon, filled with helium. This is an unpacked radiosonde, containing various sensors and a transmitter.

To watch the balloon start I leave the container on deck 6 and go outside. And there it comes, the red weather balloon with the attached radiosonde.

First it is stuck in turbulences and the heavy wind. On the next photo you see the radiosonde dangling to the right. It has been blown aside. After having been chased over deck by the wind gusts it finally lifts off and rises into the sky.

If everything goes well it will rise up to 30 kilometres sending weather data via Iridium satellite network.

This is a project of the German Meteorological Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst) where the data is used amongst others to improve weather forecasts.

There’s a reason why I could witness the balloon start today. Normally I would have joined the oceanographers on the ice today, but the whole ice station has been cancelled due to the weather. With wind speeds of 15 m/s, gust speeds of 19 m/s and snowfall with whiteout conditions the whole morning it was just not possible to establish a safe station. Instead of that we did only the CTD-casts (CTD stands for Conductivity, Temperature, Depth – important sea water properties) and deployed plankton nets. This you safely can operate from the ship. Meanwhile the ship was blown southwards with almost a knot (a nautical mile per hour).

Now it is half past eight and the ice guys are looking for a floe. Wind has started calming down a bit and the sun has come out. Perhaps we can start with our ice station tomorrow before breakfast. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

First I’ve been on deck to take photos, now I’m enjoying the view from my cabin 468 on board of Kronprins Haakon.

2023-06-12 20:48

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