Observing the Weather At A Different Latitude

2013-08-02 21:38:57.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

Observer the weather above Gullfoss, Iceland.

For a week at a time I am on the summit of Mount Washington observing and forecasting the weather. However, when I leave the summit, my “instinct” of observing and forecasting never really goes away. When I wake up every morning during my off week, instead of reaching for a newspaper, I instead find myself downloading weather maps, pulling up various weather apps, and looking at current and future conditions in the day or days ahead. This helps bring peace of mind as I plan my day ahead – what do I have to wear, what might I have to bring along with me, will I need to travel earlier, and so on and so forth. However, it doesn’t just end there. After my forecasting skill set is utilized, the rest of the day is a continuous reexamination of the sky and conditions around me. Is it colder than expected, where are these winds coming from, is that cumulus building into a thunderstorm, is that a slight rotation I see, am I going to be altering my plans to storm chase…well, you get the idea.

Even when I am on vacation, I still find myself itching to forecast and observe the weather around me. While forecasting and observing the weather around me is certainly useful, it is sometimes distracting and has me “geeking” out on something like a building thunderstorm rather than the land masses and features that are below said storm; or at very minimum, co-geeking out on both land and sky features. Such was the case last off week. While taking in the sites in Iceland, I found myself looking at forecasts and then the skies through the day. One day in particular, my observations started with a halo around the sun in the morning. Then as I reached my first destination of the day, I spotted a little puffy cloud taking shape on the distant horizon. As I traveled around during the day, I found myself constantly checking the building cumulus cloud as it started to take shape into a towering cumulus, followed by a single cumulonimbus then several cumulonimbus clouds before the sky was awash in gray followed by rain, lightning, and high winds. While the sights of the country were awe inspiring, it was also a lot of fun to forecast and then see the weather from a whole different location. Even better, it was awesome to see that weather at 64 degrees North wasn’t all that much different from what I was used to seeing at our 6288 foot mountain top weather station at 44 degrees North.


Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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