KH Waves breaking over the summit!

2006-07-23 13:12:53.000 – Jim Salge,  Observer

KH waves over the deck…

The skies sure did open up during the afternoon yesterday, drenching any and all late arrivals for our Seek the Peak, but fortunately most had had made it up early enough to get down dry. Unfortunately though, the summit staff, worried about the condition of the road for the ride back up, failed to make it down for the BBQ, and thus we don’t yet have information on our top fundraisers. We do know though that we gave tours to over 150 hikers who made it up to the summit, and we thank everyone who participated for their support of the Observatory.

This morning, the storm broke and the summit briefly cleared out. The term ‘clearing’ on the summit though merely means a lack of fog, and in fact we had clouds both above and below the summit. Usually the clouds below, the undercast is the prominent subject of summit photographs, but this morning we had some pretty rare clouds in the sky above, as evidenced by the picture at right.

KH Waves, short for Kelvin Helmholtz Waves, are evidence of strong wind shear aloft, and resemble ocean waves. Observers do see them from time to time over the summit, often times they can ride on top of mountain wave clouds, but I haven’t seen such a dramatic display in a long time. Always something interesting to see and study on Mount Washington!


Jim Salge,  Observer

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