Interns and anemometers and high winds, oh my!

2008-05-29 20:59:05.000 – Jeff Wehrwein,  Summit Intern

The sun split by a cloud as it sets.

Hi! My name is Jeff Wehrwein, and I’m a new summer intern at the Observatory. I recently graduated from Middlebury College, and I am excited to be spending the summer on top of the highest peak in the northeast. Both yesterday and today have been sunny, cold, and windy, so I have been spending most of my time inside. This has given me a chance to learn about the daily operation of the observatory, as well as to enjoy the views from the warm indoors.

Today I spent much of my morning in the parapet of the tower with 50-70 mph winds trying their best to fling me off. My fellow intern, Lisa, and I installed two instruments on the tower: a sonic anemometer, which determines wind speed and direction by measuring deflection of sound waves, and a propeller anemometer, which we call the RM Young in honor of its manufacturer. These instruments can only be used when the temperature is above freezing and there is no fog, because they are not sturdy enough to survive rime ice.

However, the RM Young turned out to have a significant problem even in today’s clear conditions. The tower was not a good place to investigate this problem, so we had to detach the entire instrument and bring it inside. This was a difficult proccess involving a very big wrench, Observers Stacey and Mike, many trips up and down the tower, a flathead screwdriver, and a lot of wind in my face. In the mean time, the sonic anemometer is holding up fine alongside the pitot anemometer, which stays up in all weather. For more information about the instruments we use to measure the weather, see our page on summit weather instruments.

This evening, we were treated to a lovely sunset, which I attempted to capture in the photo that accompanies this comment. We also enjoyed a delicious meal cooked by our wonderful volunteers, Barbara and Carol. Now it’s time to curl up with my email (hi mom!) and get ready for bed after a long day on the summit. Yawn.


Jeff Wehrwein,  Summit Intern

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