National Weather Service
Tue December 3, 2013
Upper Air Observations
It is most common at this time of year for scientific weather instruments to be found in the woods and forests.
Phil Hysell of the National Weather Service says what goes up-in this case miniature weather stations known as radiosondes-does come down.
Radiosondes are launched into the atmosphere twice a day across the country and can reach heights of over 100,000 feet. During their ascent, these devices send back valuable measurements of temperature, humidity, pressure and wind direction and speed that go into weather forecast models.
About 75,000 radiosondes are launched each year by NOAA. While they may make some noises and give off a sulfuric smell, they are safe to handle and return to be recycled and used again.