Bright and early every day at 6 AM, and once more at 6 PM, the National Weather Service sends a hydrogen-filled balloon into the upper atmosphere.
Cayman is part of a regional network of upper air stations that cover the Caribbean region.
The balloons help collect meteorological data in the upper levels of the atmosphere. That information is fed to the NOAA and the US National Hurricane Centre. It’s also crucial for air travel.
“In the upper atmosphere vertical motion is important because it helps with the development of clouds, and turbulence, which is significant for aircraft, so if they get information that it is going to be turbulent around the Cayman Islands they could give that warning to passengers and take the necessary precautions,” said Gilbert Miller, Senior NWS Forecaster.
Other regional upper-air stations include Bahamas, Barbados, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Belize, St. Maarten, San Andres Colombia, and Trinidad.