COLLEGE STATION, Texas, July 14 (UPI) — U.S. researchers are using weather balloons to take air samples above the gulf oil spill and improve weather forecasting in the affected region, officials say.
A Texas A&M University atmospheric science researcher and his students have launched balloons to gather data they hope will complement the ongoing science investigations in the area by multiple agencies and universities, a Texas A&M release said Wednesday.
The group has been launching the balloons from a BP-contracted research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico.
“This should contribute to the efficiency of ongoing operations and cleanup efforts in and near the spill area,” A&M researcher Don Conlee said.
“A recent balloon launch has revealed significant differences in the upper atmosphere conditions than those expected by models of the regions,” Conlee added.
“That shows the value of having the kinds of observations available on land in the critical incident area.”
Air samples taken in the area will be held for later study at Texas A&M, the university release said
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.