Observing Nature’s Weather Signs
2011-12-06 19:43:30.000 – Nicole Moore, Summit Volunteer
Whenever I am here on the summit, where there are all sorts of advanced devices to tell exact measurements of wind speed, humidity and temperature, I realize how much I rely on trees and other foliage to tell the weather at home. There is not a tree in sight here on the summit–only far, far away at lower elevations. Too far to see any movement, and all the surfaces right here are hard–rocks and structures. If you look out the window, you can’t see evidence of wind at all unless it is foggy and you can see that blowing.We can’t even hear the wind much down in the living quarters unless it is over 50 mph and coming in the right direction to make the vents over the stove rattle a bit.
At home, I have a window as a headboard on my bed so immediately upon waking, I open the shade and look at the big hemlocks and oaks right outside the window. If they are moving a lot, it is windy, and if the leaves are inverted, I know rain could be on the way. If they are coated in ice or snow, I know it may be a slippery drive to work. The rhododendrons serve as an amazing thermometer–the leaves curl up tightly if it is below 25 degrees so I better dress warmly. The foliage of trees and shrubs serve not only as something to which precipitation can cling, but also as a backdrop against which I can see it falling. I also find it mesmerizing and peaceful to watch the trees swaying at home and have lost many a block of time just watching them.
So here I am on this glorious, beautiful mountaintop writing about the beauty of trees at lower elevation! But it is taking note of the stark contrast between the two–summit and below treeline–which makes this such an incredible place.
9th time Summit Volunteer
P.S. (by Observer Rick Giard) I know that I can speak for the entire summit crew when saying that Nicole did a great job this week. Thank you for all your good cooking and hard work!
Nicole Moore, Summit Volunteer