The Rocky Mountains of Colorado from Colorado Springs to Boulder - 92,000 feet - Photograph by Patrick Cullis

Nearly 25 feet in diameter, the balloon stretches to its limit and explodes in this high speed GoPro footage - Patrick Cullis

Information poster on NOAA's Global Monitoring Division Ozonesonde balloon program.  - Patrick Cullis

Launching an ozonesonde from Marshall Field Site, Boulder - Patrick Cullis

Launching an ozonesonde from Marshall Field Site, Boulder - Patrick Cullis

The nine primary ozonesonde launch sites operated by NOAA's Global Monitoring Division in Boulder, Colorado

The first ozonesonde launched from Boulder was on April 27, 1967

Stratospheric ozone is measured in three primary ways.  Ozonesonde balloons are relatively inexpensive and collect the highest resolution vertical profiles and transmit data back to a ground station.  Satellites continually monitor the atmosphere from orbit using reflected or filtered sunlight.  Their global coverage is excellent but it is difficult to measure close to the surface or where there is not light, such as the South Pole during the formation of the annual Ozone Hole.  Ground based measurements such as the Dobson Spectrophotometer have the longest data records but are weather dependent and need relatively clear skies to make measurements.  Satellite and ground based instruments primary produce a single "Total Column Ozone" value that represents the thickness of all the ozone molecules between the surface of earth and outer space.  The measurement is equivalent to compressing all the ozone down to the surface and measuring its thickness at a standard pressure and temperature.  Ozonesonde balloons produce both a total column ozone reading as well as ozone mixing ratio at every altitude from surface to over 30 kilometers.

Poster explaining Ozone in the Atmosphere and the annual Antarctic Ozone Hole

Boulder, Colorado from a high altitude balloon at 92,000 feet - Photograph by Patrick Cullis

Boulder, Colorado from a high altitude balloon at 100,000 feet - Patrick Cullis

Launching an ozonesonde from Marshall Field Site, Boulder - Holger Vomel

The Marshall Field Site - Boulder, Colorado - Patrick Cullis

The Marshall Field Site - Boulder, Colorado - Patrick Cullis

The Marshall Field Site - Boulder, Colorado - Patrick Cullis