What a Difference a Day Makes
2012-09-12 23:17:28.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist
A haze-free sunset this afternoon.
When we arrived on the summit today for shift change, the horizon was muddled with a milky white haze to the east and a brownish-red haze in all our other quadrants. For those who have worked here a while, this haze looked a bit familiar, but I didn’t want to just make assumptions as to what we were seeing. And I know, saying I don’t work off assumptions is a funny thing to say since I’m a meteorologist and I work off certain assumptions when forecasting, but that’s when you are looking ahead and not examining the present. So I started looking at the various satellite loops and our hypothesis proved to be correct – it appeared that the cause of this unusual hued horizon was the result of diluted smoke from the numerous wildfires burning in the upper Northwest US and Canada. While it made for a muddled and unique scene, it was not a scene that I was looking forward to especially when some of my friends on Facebook were posting such awesome photos from the various summits the days before. But I quickly reminded myself that this is New England and (as it was quoted in yesterday’s comment as well) if you don’t like the weather, just give it a minute; unfortunately, the change that comes could be better or worst. In the case of today though, things got better over the course of the day as the wind patterns shifted slightly from the northwest to a purely westerly direction. While the shift was small it was enough to allow for the smoke and haze that arrived in the morning to blow out and it kept the remaining gunk from the west confined to our north, returning our unlimited views once again by the afternoon. But, that was today, so who knows what visibility tomorrow might bring.
Observer Footnote: Now through September 19, the Mount Washington Observatory is competing against thousands of nonprofits across the country for a share of $5,000,000 through the Chase Community Giving contest. Nearly 200 charities will be awarded grants through this contest, and Mount Washington Observatory has a legitimate shot at winning a grant of up to $250,000 to support its work in research and education. Grants are awarded to the top vote-getters, so I’m asking for your help. Please cast a vote for the Observatory! To do so go HERE!
Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist