Need pollution data? Go fly a kite.If interest in kite flying soars among atmospheric scientists, it will stem largely from the efforts of Ben Balsley, a researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences in Boulder, Colo. In the last several years, Balsley has pursued the idea that kites can lift meteorological me·te·or·ol·o·gy
The science that deals with the phenomena of the atmosphere, especially weather and weather conditions.
[French météorologie, from Greek instruments to high altitudes for long spans of time, thereby filling a unique niche in the arsenal of tools used by atmospheric scientists (SN: 4/4/92, p.216). He tested that idea last summer in Nova Scotia Nova Scotia (nō`və skō`shə) [Lat.,=new Scotland], province (2001 pop. 908,007), 21,425 sq mi (55,491 sq km), E Canada. Geography
, where he used kites to measure ozone concentrations in the troposphere troposphere: see atmosphere.
Lowest region of the atmosphere, bounded by the Earth below and the stratosphere above, with the upper boundary being about 6–8 mi (10–13 km) above the Earth's surface. .
Balsley and his crew worked with a high-tech parafoil par·a·foil
A nonrigid, parachutelike, usually nylon airfoil of ribbed or cellular construction, used especially in kites and paragliders.
[para(chute) + (air)foil.] kite, constructed from mylar fabric strengthened with threads of kevlar. The flew the kite at a height of 2,600 meters for periods of up to 12 hours. While the kite remained in the air, a wind-powered tram carried ozone-measuring instruments up and down the line, taking readings at different levels in the atmosphere. Their results tracked the spread of pollution from industrialized in·dus·tri·al·ize
v. in·dus·tri·al·ized, in·dus·tri·al·iz·ing, in·dus·tri·al·iz·es
1. To develop industry in (a country or society, for example).
2. regions in North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. . Balsley says that although balloon experiments could make similar measurements, the kite technique is much cheaper because scientists often cannot recover ozone meters carried by balloons.
Balsley and his colleagues plan to test their kites next year as part of research project to be staged in the Azores. If they receive funding, they hope to build a much larger parafoil that could, in theory, carry scientific payloads up to 19,000 meters, far above the reach of most research aircraft.