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Researchers Switch from Helium to Hydrogen Weather Balloons

Sandia National Laboratories in Alaska has switched from using helium-filled weather balloons to using hydrogen-filled balloons to collect weather and climate data. Since then, they have launched nearly 5,000 hydrogen balloons with minimal issues. This change reduces transportation costs and emissions associated with shipping helium to the facility. The switch was made possible through a partnership between the National Weather Service and the Department of Energy (DOE). The switch to hydrogen has resulted in cost savings and a reduced carbon footprint. The facility in Utqiaġvik used to spend about US$60,000/y on helium and shipping costs, and the switch has saved over US$200,000 in the past three and a half years. Other facilities are also considering the switch from helium to hydrogen.

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