By Casey Crow
A radiometer was recently installed on the roof of Pagosa Springs Middle School. The radiometer, a type of weather station, will provide more accurate readings on weather for the Pagosa Springs area.
The installation was part of an executive order by Governor John Hickenlooper for fire recovery in the Rio Grande National Forest. The region is considered one of interest based on the recent history of fires, as well as other severe weather patterns that have been identified in the last year.
The radiometer produces continuous, real-time observations and greatly improves the accuracy of atmospheric readings. Weather balloons are typically released twice a day, whereas the radiometer’s cutting-edge technology allows for atmospheric readings every 90 seconds.
The device measures 42,000 feet upward, and can sample the entire atmosphere in a total of eight minutes. Apart from measuring relative humidity, wind, air quality, temperature and liquid water, the radiometer has the potential to extend severe weather warnings for lightning and thunderstorms by several hours, and monitor flash-flood conditions.