The Wonders of the World

2019-02-16 07:42:12.000 – Jay Broccolo, Summit Intern


When I woke up this morning, knowing I was going to write a blog post today, I had no idea what I was going to discuss. I played with the idea of discussing the weather, but I figured there are plenty of outlets for that happen through our forecasts, FB live events, and social media, to mention a few. I made my coffee and headed up to the weather room remembering that the skies had cleared before I went to bed, so there was still a chance to catch the sunrise. I like to go outside on the observation deck or up to the tower first thing in the morning for a couple of reasons, whether there is a sunrise or not. One reason is that it is important to see and observe the current conditions before looking at any models runs or giving any kind of forecast. Instruments and weather models are super helpful, but instruments are dependent on them working properly and technology can fail. Forecast models are wonderful tools as well, but they use data input by thousands of different observers, instruments, and parameterization methods to assume dynamics because the equation governing fluid dynamics (the Navier-Stokes equation) is still unsolved. So, what the models do is forecast based on what is known and then they are validated to what happened and parameterization is then improved. I digress though, the other reason I go outside when I first wake up is honestly that hurricane force winds in below freezing temperatures wake me up much more efficiently than coffee does.

While outside I noticed a thin layer of clear skies, and I do mean thin. With winds from the South and a low-pressure system approaching from the west, moisture was heading into the valleys with a blanket of undercast surrounding the south section of the mountain. Above the summit, the skies were covered with altostratus clouds with cumulus clouds heading in and rising from the South. I could see a bit of pink shining through the sliver of clear sky, so I rushed down to my desk and grabbed my GoPro to record the sunrise through the sliver. It only lasted a few minutes but those few minutes were spectacular, as most times are up here on the summit. During those few minutes, I watched the clouds move in and out, blocking the light from the sun and then clearing to a bright pink hue. Some sections of the cumulus clouds were being lifted by thermals (columns of warmer air rising) creating these picturesque horseshoe clouds and other cloud formations (check them out below). While on the summit you are in the clouds and the upper-level winds, relative to the sea-level anyway. You experience all the dynamics that occur in the atmosphere that we normally observe from one perspective below. Water vapor that condenses as it cools and rises or evaporates as it moves into a region of drier air, winds accelerating or decelerating because of pressure gradients, compression, or expansion. Like what happens in a river when the same volume of water moves through a smaller space or vice versa. What I noticed, and this isn’t the first time I have thought of this, but as humans, we have always tried to organize chaos.



Admittedly, we have done a pretty good job considering how far we have advanced, but if every once and a while we stop, take a breath and observe the surrounding environment, even if living in a city, I believe that you can find the chaos that we try to not make so chaotic. Inevitably, it is impossible to control everything and sometimes, everything seems out of control. Whether it’s our employment, financial situations, our health, relationships with people, or whatever. I also believe that if you give in to the chaos, allow your environment to be chaotic and learn how to respond to situations rather than control what you don’t or even do foresee, there is an endless amount experience to be had. At the very least, you will experience the beauty of nature and what this planet has to offer. I am not saying to go put yourself in danger, accept mistreatment, or to fly by the seat of your pants all the time. There are obviously situations where we need to prepare and have control, but there are plenty of situations where we try and control a situation or environment because it is beneficial to us at that moment or we ‘feel’ that it should be a certain way. There is a balance to everything, therefore we have opposites. There are births and deaths, rises and falls, good and bad, love and heartache, positives and negatives. Without one, we would not know or be able to experience the other.

With all of that said, let’s bring a close to this post. Its well known that if you can take yourself out of a situation and view it as an outsider, the insight you gain is invaluable. Observing nature and the dynamics that presides over all that we are aware of and unaware of is one way of doing just that. I, personally, have learned and experienced more in my short life from observing the natural world than anything or anyone else and I use it every day in my own interactions with the world. There will always be more to learn. I think this why I love Star Trek so much. The constant battle between control and being out of control, emotion and logic, and allowing ourselves to explore and understand. Be open and accepting. I have connected with our environment and ultimately the people around me on much deeper levels and care less and less about superficial things (I quite dislike superficial things, to me, they are just distractions). Now, you may agree or disagree, and that is totally fine. As my extremely wise grandmother taught me, “it takes all kinds of people to make the world go around”. Clearly, it doesn’t, because, you know, physics, but you get the point. Without the different opinions and personalities that “make the world go around” I would have never gotten to where I am and for that, I am beyond appreciative.
“Live long and prosper,”


Jay Broccolo, Summit Intern

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