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Mount Washington Observatory Observer Blog

Living in Winter Wonderland

Living in a Winter Wonderland By Tricia Hutton Hi! I’m Tricia, an intern at Mount Washington Observatory. I am just a few days into my internship at MWO and it has already exceeded all my expectations and dreams. Every day I have stated that it cannot get better than this—and day after day I am amazed. I am beyond thankful that this is just the beginning. I cannot believe I have the opportunity to come back up to the Observatory at shift change every other week through May. My first few days consisted of near-zero visibility, but I found

January 15th, 2024|

An Observer Reflects on 2023

An Observer Reflects on 2023 By Francis Tarasiewicz 2023 will undoubtedly go down in history as a year marked by extraordinary occurrences. From prolonged periods of intense warmth pushing the planet beyond the critical 1.5°C threshold to instances of flooding, wildfires, and unexpected polar vortex intrusions, the past year was a rollercoaster of meteorological phenomena for Earth's inhabitants. At the Home of the World’s Worst Weather, where resilience in the face of extremes is a way of life, we embrace weather that tests our limits. For more than 90 years, the summit has attracted scientists positioned between thrill-seekers and

January 11th, 2024|

2023 By The Numbers

2023 by the Numbers By Ryan Knapp January has arrived, a time to not only look forward to what might occur in the coming year, but also look back and reflect on the previous year. Looking back at weather stats, I would summarize 2023 weather conditions on the summit as warm, wet (but not snowy), and foggy. To find out why I've chosen these words, let's look back at some of the stats from 2023. Our average temperature for 2023 was 30.4°F (-0.9°C), which is 2.4°F above the 1991-2020 30-year normal for our station. This would make the annual

January 6th, 2024|

Snow on the Way

Snow on the Way By Alexis George After a December to remember (or forget, depending on your preferred weather), in which much of the Northeast experienced warm temperatures and a snowfall deficit, it finally looks like snow is on the way! A strong El Nino pattern has had a major impact on weather conditions across the Northeast and will continue to affect weather conditions going forward this winter. El Nino causes the Pacific jet to move south and then spread farther east of its neutral position. This can lead to a slow start to the winter, with the Northeast

January 5th, 2024|

The Shared History of AMC and the Mount Washington Observatory

The Shared History of AMC and the Mount Washington Observatory By Matt Morris | December 13, 2023 Courtesy of the Mount Washington Observatory Library. April 11, 1934: It was relatively warm on the summit of Mount Washington. Below freezing, but not by much. But more comfortable temperatures were not a reason for relief for the staff of the Mount Washington Observatory. Two walls of the Observatory building were caked in ice nearly a foot deep and the wind was picking up. The observers decided to stay up in shifts that night, taking measurements with a radio to

January 2nd, 2024|

Rain-On-Snow: A Closer Look at December’s Unprecedented Flooding

Rain-On-Snow: A Closer Look at December's Unprecedented Flooding By Charlie Peachey The December 18-19 storm that produced unprecedented flooding across most of New England will be remembered by most as one of the most impactful storms in recorded history. Most stream gauges along rivers in and around the White Mountains measured their highest or second-highest flood totals. The last time that flooding of this magnitude was observed was during Hurricane Irene. Even days after the rain stopped, many rivers in the area were still considered to be at a moderate flood stage. Significant damage was also done to local

December 27th, 2023|

My Obs Journey: Beginning my Scientific Career in the Mountains

My Obs Journey: Beginning my Scientific Career in the Mountains By Amy Cotter As my fall internship at Mount Washington Observatory comes to a close, I find my last week as a summit intern to be both bittersweet and fulfilling. I’ve been on the summit every other week for the past 4 months, and as I reflect on my time here, I recall many memories, both good and challenging. I’ve had the unique opportunity to grow here both professionally and personally, from my forecasting skills to my research to recreating with my summit team to fixing malfunctioning instruments and shoveling

December 12th, 2023|

Adjusting to Life on the Summit

Adjusting to Life on the Summit By Charlie Peachey Working on the summit of Mount Washington is not your average job. There aren't too many other places where the employees work and live together for eight days in a row and then get six days to rest. So, as you might imagine, it takes a little while to adjust to life on the summit, and I have experienced that through my first three months working at the Observatory. I went from finishing research for my master's degree in early August this past summer to working my first shift at the

November 22nd, 2023|

A Surprise Aurora

A Surprise Aurora By Francis Tarasiewicz After 17 months of working at New England’s highest peak, it finally happened. On the night of November 12th, 2023, I was lucky enough to view the famous and ever-elusive Aurora Borealis, or northern lights. This blog will chronicle my experience of the night, including the dazzling details of pillars, excited oxygen molecules, and curtains of plasma. Before I can share the exciting details of the night, I feel it necessary to talk a bit about the science behind this awe-inspiring phenomenon, starting from the sun and ending around 60 miles above our heads

November 15th, 2023|

A Glimpse at METAR Reports

A Glimpse at METAR Reports By Alexis George, Weather Observer & Meteorologist METAR observations are submitted every hour of every day at Mount Washington Observatory. METAR is a format for reporting weather information that gets disseminated through the Aviation Weather Center. While METARs are primarily used by aircraft pilots, you can actually view METAR data for any station across the country. It might seem difficult to decipher these weather reports at first, but I’ll dive into reading the basics of METAR to help readers learn something new! On Saturday, November 4th, I submitted an hourly observation to the National Weather

November 7th, 2023|

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