Roving Technical Observer

2006-09-04 05:47:20.000 – Jon Cotton,  Observer

Window Sill Visitors…

Since last December I have been working for the Observatory – and a good portion has been on the summit. I believe this is my second comment written in all that time. Back last winter when I was announcing my job to family and friends many of them were excited that I’d be writing comments. I disappointed…time to change that. It will be a personal transformation that an English major can be proud of. I’ll share my thoughts and impressions. Why not?

Because now I have observer type things to say. My job has shifted from technical staff to becoming an official Observer. You might know that for the last couple years the Observatory has been working on a NOAA grant for instrumentation, infrastructure, and data flow upgrades. We now have automated data logging, streamlined communications, and temperature profiles of the surrounding area. The project list of transformations has been quite expansive in improving the routines of the summit for much greater efficiency and given us a broader view of our weather conditions. I was hired as one of three fearless mountain geeks for these projects. Now as an observer I will be able to use the tools I’ve helped create. Working directly with the new technology will allow me to identify greater improvements and hone the tools further. The summit will be my post, but forays will still be made to the valley offices and remote monitoring sites, which makes me a Roving Observer.

This week is my first in this new role. Tim, fearless meteorologist of windy summits and Antarctic ice, has been training me in the night shift. Tonight we had two visitors perched on the window sill of the weather room. Hopping around, peering in, fluttering their wings against the wet fog, we had two birds keeping us company. The sky is lightening as I write this but the photogenic bird pictured is still here. For sense of scale, here is another photo.

Friends and family, don’t worry I’ll be writing more comments in the future. Computer brethren, if you are lucky I’ll include some technical writing and block diagrams. English connoisseurs, I am sorry I started a paragraph with both a sentence fragment and a preposition.


Jon Cotton,  Observer

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