685 Performing Hourly Manual Weather Observations on the Summit of Mount Washington, NH

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
Michael A. Carmon, Mount Washington Observatory, North Conway, NH; and M. Dorfman and K. O'Brien

Mount Washington is located in the midst of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, at the crux of the Presidential Range. Mount Washington has a well-known reputation for extreme weather, with a year-round average wind speed of 35 mph [16 ms-1], a year-round average temperature of 27F [-3C], and a seasonal average snowfall of 282 inches [716 cm]. The Mount Washington Observatory (MWO) is a private, non-profit institution, located on the summit at 1,197m above sea level. The Observatory, founded in 1932, operates ear-round and is home to a group of weather observers who continue to carry out the mission of advancing the understanding Earth's weather and climate by performing hourly manual weather observations and crafting Meteorological Aviation Reports (METARs) for dissemination to the National Weather Service and the general public. The harsh Alpine environment that surrounds MWO's summit station presents staff observers with a large number of challenges, including consistently-strong and rapidly-fluctuating wind speeds, significant rime ice accretion, dense blowing snow, and sub-arctic temperatures. Despite advances in meteorological technology, traditional observation procedures remain the most reliable for this unique environment. Observers rely on a variety of instrumentation as well as manual observing techniques to successfully measure and record these extreme weather conditions.
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