A Summer on the Rockpile

2013-08-11 21:52:05.000 – Luke Davis,  Summit Intern

On Top of the World

It’s amazing how fast time has passed up here; this will be my last shift of the summer. With my research wrapping up and my internship coming to an end, it was great to not only see one of the biggest rainfall events in the summit’s recent history, but also enjoy another breathtaking cloudscape on the very same day. On top of that, I experienced one of the summit’s most impressive wind events since the winter; I even had the chance to brave the wind with a loop around the summit deck, as it peaked above 80 miles per hour.

All in all, it’s been a once in a lifetime experience. I’ve just about finished my first research project, and it has helped me figure out a lot about my future. I’ve been comparing extensive morning-time meteorological and snowpack data taken during recent winters at Hermit Lake, situated about a thousand feet below the base of Tuckerman Ravine, to the information recorded here at the Mount Washington Observatory. I aimed to demonstrate the evolution of snow conditions at Hermit Lake, the relationship between different meteorological parameters at each station, and how these subjects might be connected. It involved a lot head scratching, data mining, and careful planning, but I’ve reached some interesting conclusions. I’ve also started to realize that research, while frustrating at times, can be a rewarding endeavor, and the idea of pursuing this for a career is something I’m becoming more and more sure of. ‘Research’ has turned from some fleeting idea that I really knew nothing about, to something I can imagine myself doing. The possibility of climate change research is especially interesting to me — this is a subject with so many possible areas of focus, and something that’s proving to be of great significance to my generation, and our future moreover. One facet that especially holds my interest is how weather events, or different synoptic patterns, evolve in response to the Earth’s warming.

I’m really excited about how this internship has given me foothold in the world of meteorology and research beyond the classroom. With this experience, I plan next summer to pursue one of several meteorology and climatology research internships made available to undergraduate students, and really nail down the kinds of things I’d enjoy studying most.

Besides all of the work involved, just spending time up here, whether seeing something beautiful from the deck, hanging out with the rest of the summit staff, or eating delicious dinners cooked by the volunteers, has been a blast. I’m incredibly grateful just to have had the chance to come here — and maybe, if things pan out down the road, I’ll get the opportunity to come here again. But for now, I’m ready to move on to other things and move forward with my degree. I can’t wait to see what’s in store next.


Luke Davis,  Summit Intern

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