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Current Projects

Air Quality and Climatology

Climate Change and Air Pollutant Impacts to New England's Rare Alpine Zone
Observatory researchers, in collaboration with the Appalachian Mountain Club and Plymouth State University, are assessing climate and air pollutant trends and their influence on New England's high-elevation alpine ecosystems. Made possible by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this work builds on the Observatory's unique hourly climate record and the deployment of the Mount Washington Regional Mesonet, as well as the AMC's long-term air quality and alpine ecosystem monitoring.


Assessing Icing Conditions in the High Elevations of the Northeast
Predicting the severity of icing conditions for aviation interests has been a challenge for decades, and increased interest in wind power in the Northeast brings a new motivation to improve our understanding of how icing conditions occur and to develop new techniques to forecast icing. A three year project, in collaboration with the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, NASA Glenn Research Center, Plymouth State University, and NASA Langley, aims to observe and improve predictions of icing conditions in the Northeast.

Instrument Siting and Operation

Mount Washington Regional Mesonet
Since early in its history the Observatory has operated and maintained equipment for research, testing and environmental monitoring purposes at its facility on the summit and since the late 1990s at a site in Bartlett, N.H. Since the mid-2000s, the Observatory has been developing and deploying a wide network of remote sites that monitor environmental data. This new "Mesonet" includes a vertical transect of the atmostphere at 1,000-foot intervals along the Mt. Washington Auto Road and an assortment of high elevation sites at ski area summits, Appalachian Mountain Club huts and other facilities.

Global Positioning System Integrated Precipitable Water Vapor Instrument
A Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna in a fixed position measures the delay in the reception of signals from a network of GPS satellites in orbit. The analysis of the time delay in the reception of the signals from space can determine the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. This surface-based instrument is located in Bartlett, N.H. and delivers data into the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory's Ground-Based GPS Meteorology Network.

MWO-PSU Collaborative Research

In the summer of 2012, Mount Washington Observatory and Plymouth State University (PSU) embarked upon an exciting new research partnership to advance the Observatory's research mission and cultivate collaborative research with PSU faculty and students.

Fall 2013 Project

MWO Director of Research Eric Kelsey has teamed with University of Bergen, Norway Research Professor Dr. Michel Mesquita to teach PSU meteorology graduate students how to use a high-resolution numerical weather forecasting model in Kelsey's fall 2013 Boundary Layer Meteorology course. Dr. Mesquita will join the class regularly through online video conferencing.

To help students learn how to use the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, they will complete an online tutorial about the WRF model that was developed by Dr. Mesquita and modified by Kelsey for this course. After completion of the online tutorial, the students will work as a team on a class project to perform the following tasks: 1) choose a boundary layer phenomenon (e.g., nocturnal inversion), 2) develop and execute a field campaign to measure this boundary layer phenomenon using PSU and MWO instrumentation, 3) analyze the data, 4) use the WRF to simulate the boundary layer phenomenon, and 5) quantify the WRF model forecast skill of the boundary layer phenomenon.

The students will begin their project by carefully detailing these tasks in a NOAA-style proposal, and they will conclude their project by summarizing their results in an AMS-style paper, which may be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. The students will also present their results to the public at the end of the fall semester. By the end of the project, students will have gained valuable experience in nearly all aspects of scientific research: writing a scientific proposal, executing a field campaign to observe weather with scientific instruments, running a numerical weather model, analyzing observational and model data, presenting scientific results, and writing a journal-style article.

Results from this project will help identify strengths and weaknesses in the WRF model that can be used to improve the WRF model forecast skill.

Intern Research

Part of the experience of being a Mount Washington Observatory intern is learning more about the weather and climate of the White Mountains by performing original scientific research. The goal of intern research is to discover something new that will advance our understanding of the weather and climate of the White Mountains and/or develop a new forecasting tool for Observatory scientists. Interns have access to the summit's climate record and our Mesonet data. They practice fundamental research skills and learn new statistical functions and computer programming languages. Current intern research projects are listed on the intern page.

Current Research Sponsors
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)     NASA EPSCoR logo
Current Collaborators

Plymouth State University logo

Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) logo

University of New Hampshire (UNH) logo

NASA logo CRREL logo NOAA logo

Contact Us

Eric Kelsey, Director of Research
(603) 535-2271

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