Views from the Top: Summer Intern Signing Off
This summer, I had an incredible opportunity to intern at Mount Washington Observatory. I learned a lot in the process. Being from Prince George’s County, MD, just 20 minutes from D.C., I wasn’t very familiar with New Hampshire or the mountains before coming to the summit. Through the course of my internship, I was able to view the beautiful higher summits, all while learning a ton of meteorological knowledge.
During my undergraduate years at the Pennsylvania State University, I had never taken a forecasting course. However, this summer I worked alongside Jay Broccolo and Alex Branton, who encouraged me to pursue writing the Higher Summits Forecast. I learned the importance of notifying hikers of the weather above tree line, in addition to incorporating advice in advance to support their outdoor pursuits. This was extremely interesting and fulfilling.
I took many walks around and cloud gazed during my time on the summit. I was able to soak in all the higher summit views. Luckily, I had the chance to run in the Mount Washington Road Race, approximately 8 miles up the Auto Road! This was super fun and another key highlight of my summer. I will forever remember running the daunting Auto Road.
The following week, I shared the responsibility of giving weather station tours during Seek the Peak. I loved meeting hikers as they shared their excitement and interest in the Observatory. This was extremely cool learning about the organization’s culture and how hikers prepared to climb the summit. At the base, I joined the Après Hike Party and learned a ton about what to pack for a hike.
Another summer highlight was the early morning rising and radio calls to local huts nearby. Every morning, I would educate the local huts about the nighttime observers forecasts for the next 48 hours. Radio calls and tours effectively helped me to communicate science, interpreting complex atmospheric science processes to give the public an understanding of what’s happening in the higher summits. It was cool seeing an almost 30-degree temperature difference some days on the summit. The valley would be at 70 °F, while the higher summits were in the upper 40s, with winds making it feel a lot cooler. I found the importance of listening out for this radio call and checking the forecast before climbing in the alpine zone.
The winds. The winds. The winds. As we are known for our extreme weather, I learned a lot about our maximum winds and averages on Mount Washington. And I was able to stand outside in 60-70 mph winds. This was super fun as I had never experienced winds that fast. I also enjoyed giving visitors tours up to the instrument tower. They too played in the winds and were amazed by our gusts and wind speeds here on Mount Washington.
I also had the incredible opportunity to meet the renowned Willem Lange, a distinguished host of “Windows to the Wild” and an outdoor adventurer. Apart from being a New England contractor, Mr. Lange is also a gifted writer and master storyteller, making our encounter even more enriching. The experience of being interviewed by his team was truly enjoyable. I had a delightful time, sharing laughter and anecdotes about our adventures while filming and exploring various places.
“Windows to the Wild” host Willem Lange visited the Observatory in mid-July to interview Myah. The episode is planned for Sept. 2024.
Mr. Lange shared some valuable advice with me, suggesting that I should always inquire about someone’s origins to spark engaging conversations. I am eagerly anticipating the release of the episode in the coming year. I cannot wait to relive the moments we shared during our adventure.
My last highlight of my summer internship was the research on the Rain on Snow project and presenting data for the August edition of Science in the Mountains. This too helped me with my Python skills and critically making an analysis for Mount Washington Observatory’s climatological record. After this summer, I feel a lot better with presenting science analysis, and in addition, continuing to educate people about science. Luckily, I will be sharing my knowledge at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in January.
Alongside the beautiful views, I too enjoyed the great team that assisted me this summer, including Jay, Alex, Alexis, and Stephanie. I was truly able to enjoy every moment and look forward to returning for a visit.
Myah Rather, Summit Intern