Laser ceilometer: weather instrument tour
There are many ways to determine how high above ground the clouds are. Here are just a few of them--can you think of any more?
- you can time a helium-filled balloon from the second you let it go until it disappears into the cloud--it will rise at a known rate if you always put the same amount of helium in it;
- at airports, pilots taking off can tell you how high the plane was when they entered the cloud; or
- you can use a piece of sophisticated equipment known as a ceilometer.
At some locations, a special shield is installed on top of the ceilometer. Can you guess what it's for? It looks like a ring of metal spikes running around the edge of the opening but without blocking the laser beam. To find out its purpose, move your mouse over the picture.
Report a problem or mistake on this page
- Date modified: