Field Trip Field Report
2013-09-14 18:42:02.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist
Field Trip to NWS, Gray, ME
A common misconception people have of the Mount Washington Observatory is that we’re funded purely from the National Weather Service (NWS). This is not the case though; the Mount Washington Observatory is a private, non-profit, membership based organization. However, we do maintain a yearly contract with the NWS to provide them with our hourly weather observations and weather documents for a minimum amount of compensation. The weather data provided to them is then fed into the NWS regional and national forecasting models (GFS, NAM, etc) to assist in generating various weather maps used by NWS, local/national media, online media, and the public. If our relationship with them is still confusing, think of them as a neighbor we provide a cup of sugar to (our weather observations) so they can provide us with a piece of cake (the forecast models).
While we all have a great working relationship with our local NWS office in Gray, ME, most of us had never spent any significant amount of time with them observing and learning what they do. So on Wednesday, most of the summit staff went to Gray, ME to visit our local NWS office and get to know what they do a bit better. We toured their facilities, learned about their structuring, shadowed some of their day to day operations, and lucked out in assisting in launching their 18Z SPECI weather balloon. It was very interesting and informative and helped fill in the how, when, and why of their side of operations to better assist us in how we see and use some of their products. To everyone at NWS, Gray, ME, thank you for your hospitality and taking some time out of your schedule to shows us a bit of what you do.
Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist