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Encyclopedia > Ceiling balloon
A ceiling balloon cabinet
A ceiling balloon cabinet
A fully inflated ceiling balloon
A fully inflated ceiling balloon
Diagram of a filler stand
Diagram of a filler stand
Regulator valve and pressure guages attached to helium cylinder

A ceiling balloon is used by meteorologists to determine the height of the base of clouds above ground level during daylight hours. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1232x1632, 635 KB) A ceiling ballon cabinet. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1232x1632, 635 KB) A ceiling ballon cabinet. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1232x1632, 647 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1232x1632, 647 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Side view of a filler stand. ... Image File history File links Side view of a filler stand. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1632x1232, 641 KB) Close up of regulator valve and pressure guages as used to inflate ceiling balloons. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1632x1232, 641 KB) Close up of regulator valve and pressure guages as used to inflate ceiling balloons. ... Meteorology is the scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and forecasting. ... This article is about clouds in meteorology. ... In aviation, Above Ground Level (AGL) denotes that an altitude is given above the ground. ...


How it is used

A ceiling balloon is a small, usually red, (fluted) rubber balloon commonly measuring 76 mm (3 in) across prior to inflation, inflated to ~40 cm diameter. After inflation the balloon is taken outside and released. By timing the balloon from release until it enters the cloud a ceiling height can be obtained. When correctly inflated the balloon will rise at rate of 140 m/min (460 ft/min). The bases of clouds are very rarely flat and solid, so the ceiling height is not when the balloon disappears but when the colour begins to fade. The balloon can also be used to measure the vertical visibility into a layer of fog or blowing snow. In this case the balloon will begin to fade as soon as it is released, so the vertical visibility is when the balloon disappears. If the balloon is visible for a considerable distance into the cloud layer the observer should make note of it as it is of importance to aircraft. Balloons, like greeting cards or flowers, are given for special occasions. ... Rubber is an elastic hydrocarbon polymer which occurs as a milky emulsion (known as latex) in the sap of a number of plants but can also be produced synthetically. ... Sunlight filters through a thin layer of fog on a crisp winter morning in Albuquerque, New Mexico. ... Blizzards are characterized by high winds and blinding precipitation Sudden blizzards can cause terrible damage to infrastructure as well as danger to human life. ...

The ceiling balloon is a reliable, safe and simple way to get an indication of the height of clouds. However, it does suffer from some disadvantages that the observer must be aware of. Rain and wet snow may slow the ascent of the balloon, giving a falsely high ceiling and high winds and poor visibility may cause the balloon to appear to enter the cloud before it actually does. As the balloon rises at a rate of 140 m/min (460 ft/min) it will take over five minutes for the balloon to reach 700 m (2300 ft). Beyond this height the ability to follow the balloon, even with binoculars, is poor, as even the slightest movement of the eye off the balloon will almost certainly ensure that it vanishes. Rain falling For other uses see Rain (disambiguation). ... Snow is precipitation in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes. ...

At night when it is not practical to use a balloon the ceiling projector is used. However, during twilight it may be impossible to use the ceiling projector and then a pibal (pilot balloon) light may be used. This is a simple flashlight bulb attached to a battery. To charge the battery it is immersed in water for three minutes and then tied to the balloon prior to inflation. These are rarely used today. Ceiling projector interior. ...

Technical details

The balloons and associated equipment are usually stored in a cabinet mounted on a wall close to the gas cylinders. The cabinet has three doors one of which opens down and to it the filler stand is attached. At the top of the filler stand is a "L" shaped pipe with two rings, a small one on the bottom and a larger one on the top called the inflation nozzle. The rings stop the tube from dropping through the stand or rising too far when the balloon is inflated. The top ring has several grooves cut into to help grip the balloon which is fitted to it.

At the bottom of the pipe is a weight that, when the precise amount of gas has been added, will lift to indicate the balloon is full. A rubber hose is attached to this pipe and passes through the filler stand twice. The first hole is larger than the tube to permit movement, while the second is used to hold the tubing in place.

From there the tube runs to a needle valve that controls the amount of gas flowing to the balloon. A second tube will then run from the valve to a regulator valve that is attached to the gas cylinder. This valve has two pressure gauges attached. One showing the total pressure remaining in the gas cylinder and the second showing the amount of gas flowing through the tubing. Typically the cylinder, which is made of steel and weighs about 140 lb (65 kg). It contains the equivalent of about 200 ft³ (5.7 m³) of gas at standard pressure, stored at a pressure of 2000 psi (14 megapascals) and will inflate approximately 120 balloons (according to a nominal diameter of 45 cm). A needle valve is a type of valve usually used in flow metering applications. ... The megapascal, symbol MPa is an SI unit of pressure. ...

On the opposite side of the cabinet is space to store balloons, string and pibal lights. The gas used to fill the balloon is usually helium but can also be hydrogen. However, due to its explosive nature in an oxygen atmosphere, hydrogen is rarely used. General Name, Symbol, Number helium, He, 2 Chemical series noble gases Group, Period, Block 18, 1, s Appearance colorless Atomic mass 4. ... General Name, Symbol, Number hydrogen, H, 1 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 1, 1, s Appearance colorless Atomic mass 1. ...

The balloon is attached to the inflation nozzle and a piece of string is wound around the neck. After donning safety glasses and hearing protection a check is made to ensure the needle valve is fully closed. The main valve on the cylinder is then opened, followed by the regulator valve. Next, the needle valve is opened and the balloon begins to inflate. As the balloon reaches the correct size the inflation nozzle will begin to lift. At this point the needle valve is closed along with the regulator valve and cylinder vale. The string is then used to tie off the balloon neck to ensure that no gas can escape.

Caution must be used during inflation due to the occasional faulty balloon and its failure. If the person inflating the balloon is not wearing goggles or hearing protectors then eye or ear damage can result.

See also

Meteorological instrumentation and equipment

Anemometer | Barograph | Barometer | Ceiling balloon | Ceiling projector | Ceilometer | Dark adaptor goggles | Disdrometer | Doppler radar | Hygrometer | Ice Accretion Indicator | LIDAR | METAR Reports | Radiosonde | Rain gauge | Satellite | Snow gauge | SODAR | Sounding rocket | Stevenson screen | Sunshine recorders | Thermograph | Thermometer | Weather balloon | Weather satellite | Weather vane | Wind profiler Satellite image of Hurricane Hugo with a polar low visible at the top of the image. ... Anemometer installation on roof of Deconism Gallery, using three size 6, schedule 40 pipes in their original uncut 20 foot (6 m) lengths. ... A barograph is a recording aneroid barometer. ... Schematic drawing of a simple mercury barometer with vertical mercury column and reservoir at base A barometer is an instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure. ... Ceiling projector interior. ... Ceilometer A Ceilometer is a device using a laser or other light source to determine the height of a cloud base. ... Dark adaptor goggles The Dark adaptor goggles are one of the lesser known tools in the field of meteorology. ... A disdrometer is an instrument used to measure the drop size distribution and velocity of falling precipitation. ... Doppler radar uses the Doppler effect to measure the relative velocity information from a radar system. ... A sling psychrometer for outdoor use The interior of a Stevenson screen showing a motorized psychrometer A interior of a simple indoor hygrometer. ... Standard Ice Accretion Indicator (upside down) The Ice Accretion Indicator is an L-shaped piece of aluminium 38 cm (14. ... LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging; or Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging) is a technology that determines distance to an object or surface using laser pulses. ... METAR is a format for reporting weather information. ... radiosonde with measuring instruments A radiosonde (Sonde is German for probe) is a unit for use in weather balloons that measures various atmospheric parameters and transmits them to a fixed receiver. ... Standard Rain Gauge Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge Recorder Close up of a Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge Recorder chart The exterior of a Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge The interior of a Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge A rain gauge is a type of instrument used by meteorologists and hydrologists to gather and... A satellite is any object that orbits another object (which is known as its primary). ... Snow Gauge The Snow Gauge consists of two parts, a copper catchment container and the funnel shaped gauge itself. ... A sounding rocket, sometimes called an elevator research rocket, is an instrument-carrying suborbital rocket designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its flight. ... A Stevenson screen is a meteorological screen to shield instruments against precipitation and direct heat radiation from outside sources, while still allowing air to circulate freely around them. ... Sunshine Recorders are used to indicate the amount of sunshine at a given location. ... A thermograph is a recording thermometer. ... A thermometer is a device which measures temperature or temperature gradient, using a variety of different principles. ... Rawinsonde weather balloon just after launch. ... A weather satellite is a type of artificial satellite that is primarily used to monitor the weather and climate of the Earth. ... Weather vane Weather cock A weather vane, also called a wind vane, is a movable device attached to an elevated object such as a roof for showing the direction of the wind. ...

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Ceiling balloon

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  • Environment Canada - Atmospheric Environment Services, Technical Manual (TM07-01-01) Ceiling Balloon Equipment 76 mm (3 in).



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