How Lucky I feel…

2014-12-24 15:29:19.000 – Michael Wessler, Plymouth State University Summit Intern


Only hours in to my first time here at the summit, the home of the world’s worst weather threatens to live up to its name. While my time here will largely be spent working on climate research, it’s hard to look away from the present weather when you’re surrounded by it. It is truly a unique experience to be sitting in the weather room at the observatory with winds howling by and rain crashing against the windows.

Between shadowing the observers on hourly observations, taking walks outside to experience the elements, and eating delicious food prepared by our summit volunteers, I find myself hard at work researching properties of the Planetary Boundary Layer at the Mount Washington Observatory. The boundary layer, in short, is the lowest 300 to 3000 m of the Earth’s atmosphere and is directly affected by the rapidly changing surface conditions. It differs greatly from the free atmosphere above, where conditions typically undergo more gradual changes. Developing a record of the height of the boundary layer in relation to the summit may aid in future climate change research at Mount Washington Observatory.

Keeping score of conditions on the summit since arriving yesterday, we have experienced all types of frozen precipitation before the change to rain, with sustained winds steadily increasing to 50 mph today. The level of excitement around the observatory is high as the weather model solutions begin to agree in indicating sustained winds of well over 100 mph late Thursday evening. Knowing that some observers wait many months to see conditions like this, I feel lucky to have the opportunity so early in my two weeks here.


Michael Wessler, Plymouth State University Summit Intern

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