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12 - collect data

Collect data about the air

launching radiosonde meteorological balloons


Atmospheric scientists at Rothera Research Station collect data about the atmosphere above the Antarctic Peninsula. This is done by launching radiosonde meteorological balloons which have small sensors and a transmitter attached to them. The balloons are filled with helium and so rise high into the Antarctic atmosphere sampling the air and transmitting the data back to the station far below.

Prepare to launch a meteorological balloon from Rothera to gather data about the atmosphere above the station. You’ll be led by an experienced climatologist who will talk you through the process of instrument calibration, filling the balloon and finally launching it into the southern sky!

Can you find out whether the atmosphere gets colder or warmer the higher you go? How does the pressure change, and the wind speed? And how does altitude affect the dew point of water vapour (the temperature when clouds form)?

Multimedia or Download


Earth’s atmosphere and its different layers.

atmosphere graph

Download this graph showing Earth's atmosphere and its different layers.

Enlarge on screen


Balloon launch at Rothera Research Station

launch the movie!

Launch a Quicktime Virtual Reality file and see a balloon launch at Rothera Research Station.Use your mouse or keyboard to explore this Quicktime Virtual Reality movie.


Google Earth

Download this Google Earth kmz file. Load this file into Google Earth to display the very latest meteorological data for the Antarctic and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere. (For instructions on how to do this see the Teachers’ Notes section.)


Useful links

Find out more about climate change science at the British Antarctic Survey.



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