With flights constantly coming and going with cargo, fuel and passengers, monitoring the weather conditions here at WAIS Divide is a critical and ongoing task. The weather here augments conditions reported from the South Pole Station and is used as an indicator of general conditions on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. We have two personnel who usually complete the weather reports but our primary weatherman is Mike.
While we have a weather station that records variables including temperature, wind speed, wind direction, visibility, and the height of the ceiling, we often have back-ups and different methodologies for crosschecking the output of the weather station. The video in this post summarizes one such check.
Often measuring the height of the ceiling, or clouds, can be difficult and the instrumentation can record improper information if snow is blowing or if there are high winds. Since the height of the ceiling is vital information for pilots, we often check our weather station readings against that of a weather balloon. Enjoy this video of me launching one of these balloons that we used to measure the height of the ceiling! I am now an honorary weatherwoman at WAIS Divide.