Oral Presentation Only

Balloon-Borne Methane and Radiation Measurements

Authors: Bryant N. Fong (Arkansas State University) , Micaela Wine (Arkansas State University) , Ed Roberts (Pottsville High School) , J. Tillman Kennon (Arkansas State University)

  • Balloon-Borne Methane and Radiation Measurements

    Oral Presentation Only

    Balloon-Borne Methane and Radiation Measurements

    Authors: , , ,


The BalloonSAT program is a high altitude research and education outreach program at Arkansas State University. Weather balloons carried a Geiger counter that measured X-ray, β, and γ radiation profiles together and a methane sensor (Arduino and MQ-6 detector) in payload boxes to 30 km (90,000 ft) over the five flights. Methane and radiation measurements were not directly related, but collected independently and flown and presented together. A radiation peak related to decreasing cosmic radiation and increased secondary radiation, or Regener-Pfotzer maximum at 16 km was found. Lower tropopause temperatures were related to higher radiation counts at the Pfotzer maximum. Methane is 30 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. A linear calibration curve was made with known concentrations of methane at various temperatures to convert voltage readings into concentrations. The low temperatures and pressure were not found to significantly impact concentration measurements. Methane concentration was found to decrease with altitude similar to satellite and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) measurements. BalloonSAT can be an effective in situ instrument for measuring radiation and methane profiles.

How to Cite:

Fong, B. N. & Wine, M. & Roberts, E. & Kennon, J., (2017) “Balloon-Borne Methane and Radiation Measurements”, Academic High Altitude Conference 2017(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/ahac.5549



Published on
27 Oct 2017
Peer Reviewed