Mount Washington Observatory
The Mount Washington Observatory is a private, nonprofit scientific and educational institution organized under the laws of the state of New Hampshire. The weather observation station is located on the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The observatory's mission is to advance understanding of the natural systems that create the Earth's weather and climate, by maintaining its mountaintop weather station, conducting research and educational programs and interpreting the heritage of the Mount Washington region. The first regular meteorological observations on Mount Washington were conducted by the US Signal Service, a precursor to the Weather Bureau from 1870 to 1892. The Mount Washington station was the first of its kind in the world, setting an example followed in many other countries.
The original Mount Washington Observatory building was chained down in the winter. The original U.S. Signal Service occupied the summit and kept records from 1870 to 1892. Starting in 1932 the current observatory began keeping records. In 1934 the observatory recorded a wind gust that at that time had the highest speed in the world record that was held until 1996. The observatories whether data have accumulated into a valuable climate record since. Temperature and humidity readings have been collected using a sling psychrometer, a simple device containing two mercury thermometers. Where most unstaffed weather stations have undergone technology upgrades, consistent use of the sling psychrometer has helped provide scientific precision to the Mount Washington climate record.
The observatory makes prominent use of the slogan "Home of the Worlds Worst Weather", a claim that originated with a 1940 article by Charles Brooks. The Sherman Adams Summit building, which houses the observatory is close to the public during the winter and hikers are not allowed inside the building except for emergencies and prearranged guided.
The observatory holds a strong tradition of education. In addition to its meteorological and research endeavors, the observatory is involved in many educational efforts, which seek to inform individuals about the significant aspects of weather and the mountain environment. The facilities and programs included are the weather discovery center located in North Conway New Hampshire. There are observatory tours for members only. The Mount Washington Museum is located in the Sherman Adams Summit Building. There is Distance Learning, which allows students grades 4 to 12 to videoconference at the summit, and there are winter trips, which affords the general public the opportunity to overnight on the summit. There are summer day trips and outreach programs which bring Observatory staffers to schools throughout the northeastern U.S. made possible through a grant from Subaru of America.