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Blown Away: Interns Experience Science, Research, and Life on Top of Mount Washington

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  • 1 Mount Washington Observatory, North Conway, and Department of Atmospheric Science and Chemistry, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, New Hampshire
  • | 2 Mount Washington Observatory, North Conway, New Hampshire
  • | 3 Department of Atmospheric Science and Chemistry, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, New Hampshire
  • | 4 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • | 5 Department of Geography and Meteorology, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana
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Abstract

With extreme winds, rapidly changing weather, and myriad weather conditions during any given month, Mount Washington, New Hampshire (1,917 m MSL), is an ideal location to observe and learn about atmospheric sciences. During the summer of 2013, Mount Washington Observatory (MWO) welcomed a select group of interns to experience life at the “Home of the World’s Worst Weather” and develop scientific and meteorological skills. The goals of the internship program are to learn how to observe and forecast mountain weather; develop data analysis and critical thinking skills through individual research projects; and live, work, and collaborate effectively with others at a remote mountain-top observatory. Interns are typically undergraduate students or recent graduates of atmospheric science programs and are selected from a highly competitive field of applicants.

The summer 2013 interns worked on a variety of research projects, ranging from developing a forecast tool for the gustiness of wind at the summit to understanding the evolution of atmospheric and environmental conditions that lead to avalanches in nearby Tuckerman Ravine. To accomplish their research projects, the interns learned how hourly weather observations are made, used data analysis software, and practiced critical thinking about their methods and results. Weekly meetings with the interns and the MWO director of research allowed for the sharing of research progress, peer feedback, and practice presenting scientific results. The internships ended with presentations of their scientific research to MWO observers, staff, and observatory members. Post-internship survey responses revealed the program was highly effective at meeting its goals and provided constructive suggestions for future internship programs.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Eric Kelsey, Plymouth State University, Department of Atmospheric Science and Chemistry, 17 High St., MSC 48, Plymouth, NH 03264, E-mail: ekelsey2@plymouth.edu

Abstract

With extreme winds, rapidly changing weather, and myriad weather conditions during any given month, Mount Washington, New Hampshire (1,917 m MSL), is an ideal location to observe and learn about atmospheric sciences. During the summer of 2013, Mount Washington Observatory (MWO) welcomed a select group of interns to experience life at the “Home of the World’s Worst Weather” and develop scientific and meteorological skills. The goals of the internship program are to learn how to observe and forecast mountain weather; develop data analysis and critical thinking skills through individual research projects; and live, work, and collaborate effectively with others at a remote mountain-top observatory. Interns are typically undergraduate students or recent graduates of atmospheric science programs and are selected from a highly competitive field of applicants.

The summer 2013 interns worked on a variety of research projects, ranging from developing a forecast tool for the gustiness of wind at the summit to understanding the evolution of atmospheric and environmental conditions that lead to avalanches in nearby Tuckerman Ravine. To accomplish their research projects, the interns learned how hourly weather observations are made, used data analysis software, and practiced critical thinking about their methods and results. Weekly meetings with the interns and the MWO director of research allowed for the sharing of research progress, peer feedback, and practice presenting scientific results. The internships ended with presentations of their scientific research to MWO observers, staff, and observatory members. Post-internship survey responses revealed the program was highly effective at meeting its goals and provided constructive suggestions for future internship programs.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Eric Kelsey, Plymouth State University, Department of Atmospheric Science and Chemistry, 17 High St., MSC 48, Plymouth, NH 03264, E-mail: ekelsey2@plymouth.edu
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