MU students launch balloons to monitor upper atmosphere
COLUMBIA - Two MU students getting their masters in atmospheric science launched weather balloons Tuesday at the South Farm Research Center.
Jon Bongard and Christopher Steward planned to launch four weather balloons throughout the day to monitor changes in the upper atmosphere. That will provide data like temperature, dew point, humidity, and wind conditions.
Bongard said a stormy day like this one is the best time to launch the balloons.
"Today is one of those weatherman days," he said. "We expect to have a series of storms that come through this afternoon."
After Steward released the first balloon, he and Bongard went back to their lab and read the data provided.
They said the high cost of flying the weather balloons mean they will not launch them on a daily basis. When they do launch, they will share the data they get with the university, the National Weather Service and TV stations, including KOMU.
"This information that we are doing here goes directly into some of their forecast decisions that helps them make decisions on whether to warn or put watches out," Steward said.