India is being prepared to deploy drones to collect atmospheric data. At present, weather balloons are released twice every day from at least 550 locations across the country. Data is collected by sending sensors through these weather balloons. Sensors mounted in the radiosonde, which is a telemetry instrument carried by a weather balloon. It serves to record atmospheric pressure, temperature, wind direction and speed. Let us tell you that a hydrogen-filled weather balloon can reach a height of 12 km and transmits the data to the ground receiver by radio signal. However, weather balloons and radiosondes cannot be detected, as they move away from the weather stations that release them into the atmosphere.
Giving more details, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, M Ravichandran told PTI that “We are now exploring the possibility of using drones to collect this atmospheric data. Which is very important for forecasting about the weather. ” Several studies have shown that specialized drones equipped with sensors to collect weather data can be a good alternative to normal weather balloons. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) collects weather data from 550 locations in India through a weather station and uses radiosecond observations that need to be fed into forecast models to issue weather forecasts.
One of the biggest advantages of drones over weather balloons is that they can be controlled. It is designed to fly at low and high altitudes. IMD plans to use drones to collect data up to an altitude of 5 km and compare it with the data collected using old weather balloons. They have invited industry and academia to join in to showcase the potential of drone technology for weather observation. Weather balloons typically take two hours to fly, IMD can collect data using drones during a 40-minute flight.