I quickly posted yesterday regarding the announcement by the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) that a new record had been set for the highest wind speed recorded on the surface of the Earth by means of an anemometer. Of course, that record had previously been held by Mount Washington, for over 60 years. The record now belongs to Barrow Island, Australia where a wind gust of 253 mph was recorded on April 10, 1996 during Typhoon Olivia.
I've known about this reported wind gust for some time now, having found out about it through a great entry posted last year (and again yesterday) by fellow AccuWeather.com blogger Jesse Ferrel. This past Monday, during my usual week off, I first received news that this gust had been officially verified by the WMO. At that time, I wasn't really able to fully process such surprising and somewhat disappointing news. Through the day Tuesday and into today (my return to the mountain) I have had more time to process things and think about all the information that I have seen.
In the end, there are a ton of things running through my head. In fact, so many things that I it is very difficult for me to put them all in writing. Because of this, this entry will be my initial thoughts on the topic. Over the course of at least this shift (through next Wednesday), I will be posting more entries about specific topics that I will touch on in a minute.
I want to make it clear the stance we, the Mount Washington Observatory, are taking on this as an organization. Basically, we recognize that the WMO certainly knows what they are doing and we accept their findings. Check out the Observatory's website for more on our stance, a stance I fully support. With that said, I am going to (figuratively) take off my Observatory L.L. Bean jacket and speak on my own for the rest of this entry, as well as subsequent entries regarding this topic. Please keep that in mind as you continue to read.
Over the last couple of days, several key concerns have popped up in my mind:
1.Why has it taken almost 14 years for the WMO to verify this record?
2.Has the actual instrument that measured the wind speed been put into a wind tunnel and tested?
3.Was the instrument capable of reliably recording such high wind speeds?
4.Was the wind gust created by tornadic winds, which should then not compete with our record?
We were sent a few write-ups about the WMO committee's findings and I also have some other resources I am going to look at. I wish I could just give the committee members a call and talk to them personally, but that isn't an option at this point. Regardless, after taking in all the information about this event that I possibly can, I will hit these topics one at a time. So be sure to watch my blog over the next week because I think this will turn out to be a very interesting analysis.
In the mean time, here are some articles you can read through regarding the new world record wind speed:
Also, here are some entries that I posted with lots of great information about The Big Wind, which still stands as the highest wind speed ever recorded in the Northern and Western Hemispheres:
The record warmth that has overtaken such a large portion of the United States has also been affecting the highest mountain peak in the northeast.
Pictures from this past week on the mountain include a shot of a complete undercast, some impressive lenticulars, and a setting moon. Also included is a timelapse video of the aforementioned lenticular clouds.
It's no secret to folks that live in the eastern United States that the winter of 2011-2012 has generally seen above average temperatures and below average snowfall. This entry takes a look at whether that is the case on Mount Washington, and whether the departures from normal are unprecendented.
Another round of pictures, this time from my lastest stint on the summit of Mount Washington, from January 4 to January 11.
A couple weeks late, but here are a few pictures I was able to take during my last shift on the mountain, from December 21 to December 28.
Some reflections on what its like to spend the Christmas holiday on the top of the Northeast.