Your Guess May Be As Good As Mine.

2012-03-18 23:43:36.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist


The past couple of weeks have seen a lot of warm temperatures and from today forward we are expected to tie or break several of our daily record highs on the summit. To show you what I mean, here is a rundown of the current daily record highs and the years in which they occurred followed by forecasted highs for this week:

18th – 37F on 1945 forecasted to be around 50 today

19th – 38F on 1945 forecasted to be upper 40’s

20th – 40F on 1945 forecasted to be around 50

21st – 43F on 1945 forecasted to be lower 50’s

22nd – 41F on 1945 forecasted to be mid-40’s

23rd – 45F on 1945 forecasted to be upper 20’s

Now, usually I avoid talking about topics like this because it brings people out of the wood work providing us with some of the weirdest, scattered, and sometimes just downright nastiest emails I have read while working here. But since a few people have been wondering why this has been happening, I thought something should be mentioned. So here it is: the reason behind this warm spell is because of a large, broad area of high pressure drifting across the country. There is a bit more to it, but in the simplest and most focused terms, that is what is causing it. When I was a kid, we would get momentary warm periods like this and people would usually just go with it and enjoy it. But, in this day and age, you get a temperature one degree higher, and all of a sudden, everybody has their two cents as to what is causing it and what might happen.

But, I’m not going to do that. Why? Simple, I am NOT a climatologist. I am NOT a global warming or climate change specialist or advocate in one way or the other. I am NOT a long-term (weeks, months, years) forecaster. I am NOT a climate researcher for the Observatory. I do NOT have a degree in Futurology or Futures Studies. I am NOT a hydrologist. I am NOT a geologist. I am NOT a psychologist. And I am NOT a theoretician among many other things I am “NOT”. What I am IS a meteorologist and a weather observer.

This means I studied the science of the atmosphere and how the various elements within the atmosphere interact and change in time on various scales. It is a broad topic that allowed me to look at atmospheric data from the past, present and future and interpret it to the best of my abilities. My major was interdisciplinarity allowing me to study several of the things I listed above, but none of them were my focus. And on the summit, I focus my energy on looking at the current weather and the weather within a 36 hours period, only glancing back at our record for record setting data.

So, I don’t know how this relates to the long term climate trend, global warming or climate change. I don’t know if this kind of warmth is what we can expect over the summer. I don’t know how this compares to past summit events. I don’t know if this is the start of a long term trend. I don’t know how this will all play out for current water tables and flow. I don’t know how this is affecting the soil or shape of the mountains. And I’m not able to interpret how this will affect you directly or how this will affect your psyche.

I wish I had the answers for everyone, but I just don’t know for sure, I’m reading and hearing everything you are and interpreting it just like you. The little climatology I do know states that it is a long term study of weather, not an immediate cause and effect study. In a few years, maybe degreed climatologists can look back and write things about this event. But for now, I will focus on what I do know about the cause of this recent warm spell. It’s a ridge of high pressure, it’s causing abnormally nice weather, and it’s a great time to be on the summit and outdoors. So, hopefully you’re out there or get out there and enjoy it too.


Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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