A visit to the geophysical observatory in Cahirciveen, Kerry to find out how weather balloons are used to forecast the weather.

Balloons released four times a day from the observatory play an important part in providing an accurate weather forecast. The principal basis of weather forecasting is having information on pressure temperature and humidity in the upper atmosphere.

This is the function of the weather balloon, or rather the equipment carried by the balloon lifted some 16 miles into the sky over Kerry. Sean McWilliams, the officer in charge of the Observatory describes the workings of the balloon and radio combination or ‘radiosonde can’ as it is called.

Equipment in the observatory control room interprets the signals indicating pressure and humidity coming from the weather balloon. The information gathered is sent directly to Shannon by fixed-line telephone or by telex. Shannon then distributes it to Bracknell in England. In turn Bracknell distributes the information to the rest of Europe.

This episode of ‘Newsbeat’ was broadcast on 22 November 1965. The reporter is Seamus McConville.