Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mountain Weather

Until not so long ago, expeditions to the Himalaya and Karakoram relied on intuition to predict the weather before making their summit bids. Anyone climbing in Patagonia simply expects the weather to be lousy most of the time while watching their barometer for the telltale rise indicating a brief good window of opportunity.

But in this age of satellite imagery and the internet, it's getting a lot easier to know what is about to happen. A new web site is now offering detailed weather forecasts and histories for Everest, K2, and Cerro Torre. For the Europeans, there is also weather information for the Tirol region (Italy/Austria border) and the Sierra Nevada of Spain (near the southern tip).
You can see the wind profiles  for different elevations on the peaks, temperature, humidity, and satellite images of the regions. One of the coolest features is a moving color chart that illustrates the wind direction and speed during the previous two weeks. Watch those big red areas of brutal winds slam into the Patagonian peaks and be thankful you weren't there!

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