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Thread: Wind Speed follow up

  1. #1
    pointmasteriam Guest

    Default Wind Speed follow up

    Ok, I have been reading much as to why the wind speed is so high on Mt Washington. What I cannot find, however, is why is it not that same as say Grand Teton, or Mt. Hood, or any other peak in the world? I am an storm chaser and have been studying meteorology for 25 years as a child. I understand the concept of "squeezing" the air, so if that's really the case, the how different is the topography surrounding this mountain so much different than any other that would generate the wind force that it does?

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    The major difference....there are no weather stations on the top of Mount Hood or the Grand Teton. In the entire world there are only weather stations on top of a few dozen peaks, while there are hundreds of thousands of mountains.

    Nobody denies the fact that there are windier places in the world, its just that nobody is there to measure the wind. It's possible that a col near Mount Washington named Thunderstorm Junction is even windier.

    All that being said, I still think Mount Washington has a unique set of conditions that make it windier than the average peak. Topography, altitude, inversions, and frequency of storms all contribute.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  3. #3
    pointmasteriam Guest

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    Completely understandable about the lack of weather stations on other peaks. I know that in the Teton range, there are weather "stations" as far as on top of the ski towers, but I have never seen such high wind conditions there.

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    Default winds on Mt. Washington

    Hi Folks - Stories I've heard concerning the winds on Mt. Washington have stated that there are three major "storm tracks" that converge into the White Mountains - the South Atlantic, the Gulf track, and the Pacific Northwest. It is the converging of these three systems that produces the intensity of storms and wind on Mt. Washington, as there certainly ARE other mountains that are higher and "more intense", but none that have that kind of convergence in one spot of so many storm tracks. That's why you're not seeing this kind of activity on Mount Hood or the Grand Teton. No doubt they're great mountains - great cross country skiing on the lower flanks of Mount Hood!! - but, to me, there's no place like the "Whites"!!

  5. #5
    pointmasteriam Guest

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    Ok, that leads me to ask then, what about the mountains adjacent to Mt. Washington. Ya know that is the wind speed were as high as recorded on Mt. Washington that some of the other peaks in the area have wind speed stations as well. Something jsut ins't clicking with me in that regard. I can live with the argument that the storm systems converge nearby, but why just simply Mt. Washington in the White mountain range?

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    What other peaks have anemometers in the White Mountains? None that are over 5,000 feet. I think Cannon does, and they have recorded winds of over 180mph, not too shabby.

    I think my arguments in the other thread about wind speeds make a pretty convincing case.

    If you read the other thread I also talk about how the converging storm tracks theory is bunk. Yes, three major storm tracks converge on Mount Washington, but it is very rare that storms actually converge. The presence of the three tracks just means that Mount Washington is prone to more storms.

    Here's my summary:

    1. Mount Washington is tall compared to its surrounding peaks.
    2. Mount Washington is smooth.
    3. Topography aids in funnelling winds over the summit.
    4. The landscape is relatively flat to the northwest and southeast.
    5. Mount Washington is prone to many storms.
    6. Stable layers above the summit act to squeeze winds.
    7. There is a manned observatory with a staff devoted to accurately recording the winds.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

  7. #7
    pointmasteriam Guest

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    Bill

    That's why I felt like I was missing something. I dont have a clue what other peaks have the wind speed indicators, but I just found it really odd that this 1 single solitude mountain top ahd the worst weather in the world when several miles in either direction are other tops that may have the same type of weather. But, never having been there, then I don't know obviously, just going off of logic in other mountain ranges. So I know where you're at with your explantion and understand completely....jsut one of those wierd things ya know.....

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    Sure, at any given moment, the weather on Mt Adams (or Jefferson or Monroe) might be worse than on Mt Washington, but I think the "World's Worst Weather" designation is bestowed on Mt Washington because it is the most prominent peak in a range affected by Bill's list of factors. It is the most remarkable mountain in a remarkable range in a remarkable region.

    Plus, the "constriction" of air passing over the top is more extreme on Mt Washington, which creates higher winds than you would find on its shorter neighbors.

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    I have often wondered this myself; I know that there are other mountaintops that do have structures and similar facilities albeit not a full-time staffed weather station. Pikes Peak comes to mind

    (http://www.springsgov.com/units/pikespeak/)

    I wonder if, at the danger of wresting the WWW (World's Worst Weather) title, non manned, automated devices could be packaged and deployed. Certainly with the experience gained from Mt Washington designs for such a system could be devised and tested as well. Looks like a possible grant proposal.

    Having said all this I have to wonder what if any real value comes from the observations made here, that could translate into a reason for deploying such systems? Do the observations made on the mountain add to the ability to forecast weather in the valleys?
    I certainly don't mean to trivialize the observatory in any way, I strongly believe in research for no other reason than knowledge itself. And earth observations are always needed, especially over long periods of time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrad Fischroy
    I wonder if, at the danger of wresting the WWW (World's Worst Weather) title, non manned, automated devices could be packaged and deployed. Certainly with the experience gained from Mt Washington designs for such a system could be devised and tested as well. Looks like a possible grant proposal.
    Automated stations have serious limitations that have yet to be fixed. Mount Washington is the proving ground for this type of equipment, and Mount Washington almost always wins.

    Icing is major problem that technology has yet to overcome. The best tool is still a crowbar. The pitot anemometer on the summit is heated to over 300F and it sill accumulates ice. Imagine trying to heat something to that level with solar power or batteries!

    Without human intervention the thermometers would also become encased in ice and they would fail to give a proper reading.

    I'm confident that a non-manned weather station will never take away Mount Washington's distinction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrad Fischroy
    Having said all this I have to wonder what if any real value comes from the observations made here, that could translate into a reason for deploying such systems?
    There is significant value coming out of the Observatory every hour. Their observations alone are fed directly into numerical models that help forecast the weather. At 6,288ft the summit station acts like a probe in the atmosphere where weather data is hard to collect.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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