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Mount Rainier Summit Climate

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#1
Scott

Posted 11 May 2018 - 05:28 PM

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I just found this online:

Attached File  mt rainier summit.JPG   35.17KB   0 downloads

 

At the bottom it says "Source: NOAA".

Link:

 

https://www.google.c.....0.a-3AnOIyOMM

 

I can't find any such info on NOAA.

 

Can anyone else find it?   If someone can find it and knows where it came from, it would be appreciated!

It seems a bit colder than the information I compiled:

Attached File  rainier 3.JPG   36.36KB   0 downloads
 

https://www.summitpo...-summits/171585

 


  • iFred likes this

At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   7.89 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   35.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   


#2
Phil

Posted 11 May 2018 - 05:33 PM

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It’s probably computer based, but that diurnal cycle looks way too large for a snow-covered mountain summit. You shouldn’t have much (if any) diurnal cycle up there, especially during the winter.

So color me skeptical of that “source”.
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#3
Scott

Posted 11 May 2018 - 05:51 PM

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It’s probably computer based, but that diurnal cycle looks way too large for a snow-covered mountain summit. You shouldn’t have much (if any) diurnal cycle up there, especially during the winter.

 

 

Yes, I agree.   After posting that I noticed they had results for a lot of mountains (Hood, Whitney, Kings Peak, etc.).  

 

Check out Mount Whitney:

 

Attached File  whitney.JPG   32.21KB   0 downloads

 

It says a 34 diurnal spread for the summer months.   There is no way.  Across the valley White Mountain Peak does have a real weather station (2003-2018 data).  The diurnal spreads are 10-15 degrees.  

Attached File  white mountain.JPG   41.33KB   2 downloads

This comes from a real weather station (which unfortunately seems to be down for some reason):

 

https://wrcc.dri.edu/weather/wmtn.html

Dang link (Rainier) got me excited for a minute thinking there was some more data available somewhere.  


At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   7.89 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   35.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   


#4
Scott

Posted 11 May 2018 - 06:16 PM

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It's interesting to compare the real data with the "fake" data.

 

"Fake" weather data for Pikes Peak (this one is way off especially in winter):
 

Attached File  pikes fake.JPG   30.22KB   0 downloads
 

Real weather data from Pikes Peak:

Attached File  Pikes real.JPG   48.13KB   0 downloads

"Fake" data for White Mountain Peak (strangely, they have Mount Whitney as much warmer in summer than White Mountain Peak, which makes no sense.  The "fake" White Mountain data isn't that far off the mark, though dirunal change is too much.):

Attached File  white mountain a.JPG   32.28KB   0 downloads

 

Real weather data from White Mountain Peak:

post-1402-0-30898300-1526089758.jpg

Mount Washington seems really close.   My guess is that they may have used real weather data for that one (the period of record is probably a little different, which could explain the slight differences), but it does seem slightly cooler than the listed "real" averages.

 

Mount Washington:

Attached File  mount washington fake.JPG   45.06KB   0 downloads

 

Mount Washington:

 

Attached File  mt washington real.JPG   44.63KB   0 downloads


At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   7.89 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   35.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   


#5
Phil

Posted 11 May 2018 - 08:14 PM

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Yes, I agree. After posting that I noticed they had results for a lot of mountains (Hood, Whitney, Kings Peak, etc.).

Check out Mount Whitney:

whitney.JPG

It says a 34 diurnal spread for the summer months. There is no way. Across the valley White Mountain Peak does have a real weather station (2003-2018 data). The diurnal spreads are 10-15 degrees.

white mountain.JPG

This comes from a real weather station (which unfortunately seems to be down for some reason):

https://wrcc.dri.edu/weather/wmtn.html

Dang link (Rainier) got me excited for a minute thinking there was some more data available somewhere.


Average high of 50*F in July at 14,252ft? Are you sure that’s accurate? Seems awfully warm to me.

The record wind speed of 160mph also seems too low for that altitude. Even Roan Mountain in NC has gusted beyond 170mph.
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#6
Scott

Posted 11 May 2018 - 08:47 PM

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Average high of 50*F in July at 14,252ft? Are you sure that’s accurate? Seems awfully warm to me.

 

 

It seems about right for the location and period of record.   Pikes Peak Colorado (14,115 feet) has an average high of 48 in July and White Mountain Peak is farther south.   Also, the period of record is 2003-2018, which has been a warm period for interior Southern California.   

 

The record wind speed of 160mph also seems too low for that altitude. Even Roan Mountain in NC has gusted beyond 170mph. 

 

What's the period of record though?   For White Mountain Peak, I could only find 88 months of wind data available (at least that I can find), and unfortunately even in years and months with data a fair amount of wind data is also missing:
 

Attached File  White mountain wind.JPG   74.6KB   0 downloads

 

Still, there are a lot of holes in the data, especially when it comes to wind speed.   Here is the worksheet I used to calculate average wind speed and you can see that there are a lot of holes in the data (ignore that "average high" part; this is average wind speed).  There is only an equivalent of 7.33 years of wind data available. I'd imagine Roan Mountain has a longer period of record (?).  

 

Attached File  white wind 1.JPG   64.16KB   0 downloads

 

Also, the winds are westerly and the Sierra Nevada probably blocks at least some of the wind and most of the precipitation.  While the west side of the Sierra Nevada can get more than 80 inches of precipitation a year, White Mountain 2 (elevation 12,470) only gets 18.83 inches of precipitation.  The White Mountains are considered to be the driest mountains in North America at such an elevation.  The only mountain area that might compare are the Mosquitoes or Southern Sawatch in Colorado, but the White Mountains are still drier.  

You can see how dry they are by seeing the vegetation:
 

White_Mountains_%281%29.jpg
 

I'd imagine that some of the wind is blocked too.  

 

I did notice however that a  max speed of 158 mph was recorded last month on 4/18, which beats the old April monthly record for the years I can find data on.  I updated that part of the table.

 

Attached File  white wind.JPG   95.25KB   0 downloads
 


  • Black Hole likes this

At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   7.89 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   35.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   


#7
Phil

Posted 11 May 2018 - 10:33 PM

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It seems about right for the location and period of record. Pikes Peak Colorado (14,115 feet) has an average high of 48 in July and White Mountain Peak is farther south. Also, the period of record is 2003-2018, which has been a warm period for interior Southern California.


Thanks. Interesting stuff. Yeah,it looks like there were some very warm years in recently. The growth of the four-corners high really took off after 1998.

What's the period of record though? For White Mountain Peak, I could only find 88 months of wind data available (at least that I can find), and unfortunately even in years and months with data a fair amount of wind data is also missing:

Still, there are a lot of holes in the data, especially when it comes to wind speed. Here is the worksheet I used to calculate average wind speed and you can see that there are a lot of holes in the data (ignore that "average high" part; this is average wind speed). There is only an equivalent of 7.33 years of wind data available. I'd imagine Roan Mountain has a longer period of record (?).


The period of record for Roan is also incomplete, but IIRC it goes back to 1999. I’ll grab the data and check tomorrow, when I’m not half asleep.

There is a few years worth of pressure and wind data missing, though. Sucks these stations aren’t maintained very well.
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#8
Scott

Posted 11 May 2018 - 10:46 PM

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The period of record for Roan is also incomplete, but IIRC it goes back to 1999. I’ll grab the data and check tomorrow, when I’m not half asleep.

 

 

170 does seem high for the location. 

The record high gust at Grandfather Mountain is 121 mph on 12/21/2013.  A reported 200 mph was found to be erroneous.  So were other similar high readings of the era.

 http://dsoftp.appsta.../GFMweather.htm

 

Since the location of the anemometer at Grandfather Mountain was corrected, the record has been 121 mph.  

 

Sucks these stations aren’t maintained very well. 

 

 

Agreed.

 

For mountain top locations, Mount Washington and Mount Locke (Texas) are really the only stations that have a long and complete period of record, but Mount Locke doesn't record wind data.     Mount Mansfield, followed closely by Grandfather Mountain would be next.

Mount LaConte and Mitchell have somewhat long periods of record.

Out west, Blowhard Mountain Utah has a period of record 42 years (1964-2006), but the readings between 1997 and 2006 went haywire, so I'd only trust the readings for 1964-1996 (32 years).  By Western standards though, the mountain isn't that high (10,700 feet).  I don't know of wind data though.  

 

Next on the list for Western mountains would be Mount Evans with 27 years of data, making it the longest period of record for a mountain top location next to Blowhard Mountain,  but the data is hard to dig up (I have only been able to dig up annual averages and extremes).  

 

Climax Colorado at Fremont Pass does have a long period of record, but it's at a pass rather than mountain top.  

 

Berthoud Pass (11,315) and White Mountain 2 (12,470) have 25 and 35 years of data respectively, but although pretty high, they aren't mountain tops.  Mauna Loa slope Observatory also has a pretty long period of record, but also isn't at the summit. 

Most other mountain tops have data of only a few decades or less.


  • wx_statman likes this

At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   7.89 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   35.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   


#9
Phil

Posted 11 May 2018 - 10:59 PM

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170 does seem high for the location. The record high gust at Grandfather Mountain is 121 mph on 12/21/2013.

A reported 200 mph was found to be erroneous. So were other similar high readings of the era.

http://dsoftp.appsta.../GFMweather.htm

Since the location of the anemometer was corrected, the record has been 121 mph.


The Grandfather Mountain reading was adjusted downwards because they thought the roof was accelerating the winds, but that should have only been the case with south/north winds based on the shape of the roof relative to where the station was sited, while the winds in question were W/NW.

I’m not saying I buy the 200mph reading, but it was probably closer to 160-180mph. I know the ridge-tops around here see winds over 100mph at least a few times per year. The Dolly Sods WV station hit 147mph as recently April, and the Devils Knob station hit 122mph.

There was a station in Davis WV that hit 155mph during the March 2nd windstorm this year, before it was taken out (I’m assuming since it hasn’t reported since that storm).
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#10
Phil

Posted 11 May 2018 - 11:06 PM

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I think the manner in which the mountain ridges are oriented here can really accelerate the winds. You have these ridgelines that run N/NE - S/SW, often perfectly perpendicular to the prevailing winds. So there are lots of turbulent eddies and local accelerations when the winds blow from the W/NW.

There have been a few days where I’ve been hiking out there near Davis, WV, on days that were forecasted to be calm, and instead encountered winds over 60mph. You literally never know.
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#11
Scott

Posted 11 May 2018 - 11:29 PM

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The Grandfather Mountain reading was adjusted downwards because they thought the roof was accelerating the winds

 

 

It was apparently both the roof and the rock wall that was accelerating the winds (my web page says roof, but apparently the rock wall may have also played a part according to some sources).  Once the station was moved, the readings went way down, both in extremes and averages.  121 seems to be the current accepted record, at least since the station was moved (February 2007).

https://grandfather....ather-mountain/

 

The NWS pulled their equipment off Grandfather Mountain a few decades ago and the management of the facilities on the mountain installed their own.   All of the sudden, readings went up.  On the day the 200 mph was recorded, other mountain stations in the area recorded wind speeds up to 90 mph, which is high, but not even remotely close to 200.

 

The readings since February 2007 should be accurate, but it seems the ones before that are suspect at best.  

Some of the news stories were even claiming that the gust on Grandfather Mountain may have exceeded that of Mount Washington, but there is just no way Grandfather Mountain is as windy as Mt Washington, either in extremes or averages. 

Of course 11 years of data isn't that long, so it is probable that the official/accepted wind gust record on Grandfather Mountain will be exceeded sometime.  

Of course, it is very probable that readings before February 2007 were higher than 124, but since the readings during that time period aren't trustworthy, it's hard to say what they should have been.  

Of note, I'd like to get the average wind speeds for Grandfather Mountain, but I can't find them (any help appreciated), though undoubtedly they exist since they are talked about online.  

 

I'd also like to see that data on Roan Mountain.   Maybe I can add it to the web page below:

 

https://www.summitpo...-summits/171585

 

More mountain top data would be great.  


At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   7.89 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   35.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   


#12
Phil

Posted 11 May 2018 - 11:42 PM

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It was apparently both the roof and the rock wall that was accelerating the winds. Once the station was moved, the readings went way down, both in extremes and averages. 121 seems to be the current accepted record, at least since the station was moved (February 2007).

https://grandfather....ather-mountain/

The NWS pulled their equipment off Grandfather Mountain a few decades ago and the management of the facilities on the mountain installed their own. All of the sudden, readings went up. On the day the 200 mph was recorded, other mountain stations in the area recorded wind speeds up to 90 mph, which is high, but not even remotely close to 200.

The readings since February 2007 should be accurate, but it seems the ones before that are suspect at best.

Some of the news stories were even claiming that the gust on Grandfather Mountain may have exceeded that of Mount Washington, but there is just no way Grandfather Mountain is as windy as Mt Washington, either in extremes or averages.

Of course 11 years of data isn't that long, so it is probable that the official/accepted wind gust record on Grandfather Mountain will be exceeded sometime.

Of course, it is very probable that readings before February 2007 were higher than 124, but since the readings during that time period aren't trustworthy, it's hard to say what they should have been.


But those two stone barriers run parallel to the W/NW, within ~ 15 degrees on either side, and the other station has raised topography upstream. I’m sure winds from the S/SW and N/NE were accelerated, which likely skewed the averages and gusts upwards overall, but that should have only occurred with certain wind directions. It can’t be a universal acceleration.

I’d bet against 200mph as well, but adjustment was probably a myopic over-correction, in my opinion. And even though the ridges up here do a better job of accelerating the winds than those in NC (shape is everything) the fact they still see 100mph+ winds numerous times per year leads me to believe the higher-end gusts are legitimate. It’s why the build codes up on the ridge-top communities here are so strenuous.
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#13
Scott

Posted 12 May 2018 - 05:36 PM

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I’m sure winds from the S/SW and N/NE were accelerated, which likely skewed the averages and gusts upwards overall, but that should have only occurred with certain wind directions. It can’t be a universal acceleration.

I’d bet against 200mph as well, but adjustment was probably a myopic over-correction, in my opinion.

 

 

It's hard to say since when it comes to wind readings, once some are suspect, I think it could be challenging to choose which ones are and aren't legitimate, even when analyzing all the data (even though I trust that you are doing a good job of doing so).

One thing for sure though is that since February 2007, the readings have almost surely been accurate.  If Grandfather Mountain is capable of producing 160-180 mph winds, it is only a matter of time before such readings are again recorded.

 

One thing that makes me a little skeptical is that besides tornadoes, all other areas that have recorded such winds (that I know of at least) are in places without trees.  In Colorado, during October 1997 there was a severe windstorm just east of here and with winds of 120 mph.  The winds complete destroyed more than six million trees, many of them in old growth forests.

https://www.hcn.org/issues/119/3803

The windstorm basically flattened the entire forest in several locations and that was at "only" 120 mph.  The forest will take many decades to recover.    Maybe the trees on Grandfather Mountain are stronger than the ones in the old growth forests of Colorado, but I would still think that anything over 160 mph would completely destroy any forest.   The trees on Grandfather Mountain are indeed stunted by the wind, but it doesn't appear that the forest has been destroyed by wind in at least many decades.

 

Of course the above is only my conjecture.  Time should sort this one out.


At home:

 

Coldest temperature thus far in 2018:   -26 on 2/21

 

Warmest temperature thus far in 2018:  99 on 7/8 (All time record high)

 

Precip thus far in 2018:   7.89 inches

 

Snowfall thus far in 2018:   35.7 inches

 

Last frost of early summer:  7/1

 

First frost of late summer:  8/29

 

Last snow of late spring:  5/1 

 

First snow of early fall:   


#14
Phil

Posted 12 May 2018 - 07:05 PM

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It's hard to say since when it comes to wind readings, once some are suspect, I think it could be challenging to choose which ones are and aren't legitimate, even when analyzing all the data (even though I trust that you are doing a good job of doing so).

One thing for sure though is that since February 2007, the readings have almost surely been accurate. If Grandfather Mountain is capable of producing 160-180 mph winds, it is only a matter of time before such readings are again recorded.

One thing that makes me a little skeptical is that besides tornadoes, all other areas that have recorded such winds (that I know of at least) are in places without trees. In Colorado, during October 1997 there was a severe windstorm just east of here and with winds of 120 mph. The winds complete destroyed more than six million trees, many of them in old growth forests.

https://www.hcn.org/issues/119/3803

The windstorm basically flattened the entire forest in several locations and that was at "only" 120 mph. The forest will take many decades to recover. Maybe the trees on Grandfather Mountain are stronger than the ones in the old growth forests of Colorado, but I would still think that anything over 160 mph would completely destroy any forest. The trees on Grandfather Mountain are indeed stunted by the wind, but it doesn't appear that the forest has been destroyed by wind in at least many decades.

Of course the above is only my conjecture. Time should sort this one out.


There are no trees on the summit of Grandfather Mountain, or the summit of Mt. Mitchell or Roan Mountain, for that matter. Same with Mt. Washington. They can’t grow up there because of the wind and cold. It’s mostly grasses and shrubs.

There are some trees on the eastern faces, but they’re still about 500-800ft below the summits. The few trees that do exist above that are < 5ft tall and grow more like shrubs.
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#15
Phil

Posted 12 May 2018 - 07:21 PM

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FWIW, healthy trees can survive occasional bombardment. We had a terrible microburst in June of 1989, which was estimated at 145mph or higher within the burst swaths, and that event only took out ~ 50% of the trees that were impacted (which was still a lot..tens of millions were lost, but many survived. In fact, buildings were often more damaged than the trees).
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#16
Phil

Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:58 AM

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Regarding the trees, note the photos we took after that destructive downburst in 1989. The 200-300yr old trees behind our house today are the ones that survived that event, albeit with damage.

The red circles are the trees in question. You can see where they were snapped in 1989.

This year:

68sx93y.jpg

Before the downburst, taken in 1984. They certainly looked different then, but they survived even after being snapped off at the tops:

Opy7Q5w.jpg


Before/after photos (1984 vs 1989)

EzKANnF.jpg

iHP9MZA.jpg

Crappy 1980s photography below, but inside the red circles are broken window panes. These were the windows with the checkered wooden panes that separated the glass squares. So many of those glass squares were broken in.

The only reason we didn’t lose our roof was because it’s bolted to the frame of the house, like you often see with houses in Florida. Several of our neighbors did lose their roofs, though, and our next door neighbor actually lost their front door and both chimneys:

Q60hKqz.jpg

qlSqRHD.jpg


More before/after photos. Note how the strongest trees still managed to survive:

ltJfzSH.jpg

IXajq0d.jpg

3ToM2g3.jpg

yte5A4Y.jpg
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history

#17
Phil

Posted 13 May 2018 - 10:20 AM

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So can trees survive gusts to 145mph?

The answer is yes, requiring they’re both healthy and aerodynamic to the prevailing streamflow.
Personal Weather Station, Live Stream on Wunderground: https://www.wundergr...pwsdash#history