SAN DIEGO — Scientists with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography released a weather balloon into the sky Monday to study an illusive weather factor: clouds.

A six-feet by six-feet weather balloon was outfitted with a transmitter and launched 100,000 feet into the air to collect data on the cooling and heating nature of clouds in the coastal San Diego area.

Team leaders have been building weather models for climate change for years, but are now focusing on “research that’s going to help us better understand the processes that are occurring within the clouds and atmospheric particles,” said Dr. Shaima Nasiri of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Federal officials along with Scripps scientists have partnered to take a deep dive into the role that cloud covers play in the heating and cooling of our region.

“Different kinds of clouds are more cooling and other kinds of clouds are more warming. So one of the things that this set of instruments can do, that no one else can really do, is tell us which kind of clouds cool or warm and actually measure how much they are cooling or warming,” said Dr. Lynn Russel, an Atmospheric chemistry professor with Scripps.

The balloon will float for roughly 3-4 hours before deflating, Scripps said. The data will then be transmitted to researchers on the pier, who will examine the collected data.