• India Plans to use Weather drones instead of Balloons

    India Plans to use Weather drones instead of Balloons

    Digital Desk: India plans to use drones to collect atmospheric
    data, which is currently collected by sending sensors via weather balloons
    released twice daily from at least 55 places across the country.

    As the hydrogen-filled weather balloon climbs to a height of 12
    km, sensors placed in a radiosonde, a telemetry instrument carried by a weather
    balloon, record atmospheric pressure, temperature, wind direction, and speed
    and communicate data to a ground receiver through radio waves.

    Weather balloons and radiosondes, on the other hand, are
    unrecoverable since they drift far away from the weather stations that release
    them into the atmosphere.

    "We're now looking into deploying drones to collect this
    atmospheric data, which is critical for weather forecasting," M
    Ravichandran, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said.

    Several research have shown that specialised drones equipped
    with weather sensors could be a viable replacement for standard weather

    The India Meteorological Department (IMD) collects
    meteorological data from 550 places across the country via weather stations and
    uses radiosonde observations to generate weather forecasts, which are
    subsequently incorporated into forecasting models.

    Drones offer a significant advantage over weather balloons in
    that they can be controlled and guided to fly at low or high altitudes. The IMD
    intends to collect data from up to five kilometres altitude using drones and
    compare it to data collected using regular weather balloons.

    It has asked industry and academia to participate in a
    demonstration of drone technology's capabilities for weather observation.

    "It is expected that drones should be capable, economically
    feasible, easily deployable and recoverable and should be technically
    comparable or superior to currently deployed radiosondes for upper air
    observations up to the boundary layer of upper air atmosphere," the
    weather office said.