310 Procedures and Advances in Mount Washington Observatory's Mountainous Mesonet Sites

Monday, 11 January 2016
Michael Dorfman, Mount Washington Observatory, North Conway, NH; and K. O'Brien and E. P. Kelsey

The nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory (MWO, 1917 m asl) owns and maintains the Mount Washington Mesonet, a network of 19 weather stations in the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) region of New Hampshire. The MWO Mesonet sites measure several variables, including temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, cloud height, precipitation and ice accretion. The MWO Mesonet includes the Auto Road Vertical Profile (ARVP), six stations located at least every ~300 m of elevation along the Mount Washington Auto Road. The ARVP and summit Observatory together provide a fixed, continuous vertical profile of temperature and relative humidity, and warm season wind at three elevations above tree line. These data provide insight into mesoscale phenomena in some of the most mountainous terrain east of the Mississippi River, as well as critical support to MWO higher summit forecasts which are heavily used by outdoor recreationalists, recreation companies, and search and rescue organizations. The mesonet data were used in past studies to verify WRF model forecasts of the nocturnal boundary layer, WRF model precipitation forecasts in the WMNF region, and is currently used in northern New England cold air damming research. This presentation describes the MWO Mesonet and some of the past and current forecasting and research applications of the mesonet data.
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