After recent reports of alleged Chinese spy balloons being shot down in the US, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has reminded that not all balloons should be considered a threat.
Weather balloons are critical to understanding our planet, the impacts of climate change and providing scientists with the data they need to make changes and discoveries.
The WMO’s report reveals that each day balloons are pushed into the sky from 900 global locations to gather information – with 1,000 balloons providing real-time observations on our climate and environment.
This is also how storms are predicted and weather forecasts are made all over the world, the study explains.
Balloons remain in the sky for two-hours at a time, before being reinflated and ready to go again.
Built to last, these flying beacons can survive temperatures of -95°C – but if the optimum is reached, they burst and slowly drift back down to earth in a parachute.
Weather information and research has relied on balloons for the last six decades.