Upper Air Research in Egypt

Abstract

THE Helwan Observatory (under the Survey Department of Egypt) has recently acquired apparatus to enable it to join in the study of the upper regions of the atmosphere. As a commencement, some fifteen ascents of small “pilot” balloons were made during the month of August. On three occasions the balloons were watched to a height of 5000 metres, but rather a large percentage of the balloons used burst at much lower altitudes. A better type of balloon has been ordered, and it is hoped that observations may be regularly made with them up to 5000 metres or 6000 metres. The balloons are of 2 feet nominal diameter, and are filled with dry hydrogen made from zinc and sulphuric acid. They are observed as they ascend by two observers at the ends of a base line r kilometre in length. The theodolites are of the very convenient type made by S. and A. Bosch, of Strassburg, specially for this work. The result of a month's work shows that at this season the surface wind (N. to N.W. as a rule) is from 1000 metres to 2000 metres thick. Above this there is a layer of varying thickness of winds from W. to W.S.W., whilst above 4000 metres, other winds are reached, but the number of observations is at present too few to generalise about this region. An interesting ascent is shown in the figure, which represents the horizontal projection of the flight of a balloon on August 27, with contours showing the position of the balloon at intervals of 500 metres. In this case, above the stratum of S.W. wind there was a layer of N.W. winds, whilst above this a S.W. current was again entered.

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