Night Observing

2013-04-21 22:04:58.000 – Mike Dorfman,  Weather Observer

Filling Out Paperwork During the Night Shift

The night observer’s schedule is very unique. Heading to bed at around 4 AM and waking up between 11 and 1, there’s no need to set an alarm clock in the morning at the cost of having to stay awake extremely late. The sleep adjustment that the night observer goes through on a weekly basis is the equivalent to the jet lag from travelling back and forth from Western Europe, but adjusting becomes easier with practice.

Just like during the day, the night observer must go outside every hour to take an observation. This is done with relative ease on foggy nights when the measured parameters, such as visibility and cloud cover, are very clear-cut. On clear nights however, the night observer must wait for 10-15 minutes for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. To facilitate this process, red tinted lights are installed in the weather room, allowing the night observer’s workspace to be transformed into an eerie, darkroom-like abode.

As a new night observer, I am just starting to get used to the new schedule and responsibilities. Between the red lights, the loud cracks the building makes due to thermal expansion, and the theoretical haunting of the summit, the night shift in the Sherman Adam’s building can be a bit intimidating. I am sure I will quickly get used to the new schedule and learn to appreciate the peace that the summit at night has to offer.


Mike Dorfman,  Weather Observer

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