Wishing for Fog
2011-08-07 18:28:43.000 – Brian Clark, Observer / Educational Specialist
I can honestly say that it’s not very often that I wish for a day that we are completely socked in the fog. However, given the weather pattern we have seen for the majority of my last couple of shifts, and especially leading up to today on this shift, I found myself really longing for a foggy day.
See, while on the surface (no pun intended), taking weather observations seems like it should be a simple task, it isn’t always in reality. First of all, we have to learn all the code and coding rules that goes into creating a METAR weather observation. We even have to take a (government) test on those rules and become certified. Then we have to take those rules, which were definitely not created with the idea of a mountain-top weather station in mind, and make them work for a mountain-top weather station. Because of this, we occasionally run into certain situations that are not terribly easy to put into METAR code form. Often, these situations involve weather patterns that have us ‘in and out of the clouds’ as we call it.
On the other hand, observations that we take when we are in the fog, or ‘fog obs’ as the summit crew calls them, are very easy. In the summer time, it literally takes 30 seconds to 1 minute outside to take a proper fog ob. Recording, coding, and sending the observation also takes significantly less time.
After lots of days with observations that are time consuming and difficult, it was very nice to have a day with all fog obs. This is especially true for Roger. Since he is still learning how to do observations (which he is doing quite well with, I might add), fog obs are the easiest for him to do on his own at this point which is in turn good practice for him.
It appears as though we will have quite a few more fog obs to do over the remainder of our shift as several different lows move through New England over that time period. Of course, as usual, the mountain may have completely different ideas. In fact, as I write this and look out the window, the fog is trying to clear!
Brian Clark, Observer / Educational Specialist