We are a team integrated by researchers in fields such as climatology, mountain meteorology, mountain hydrology, tropical glaciology or avalanche forecasting. At the same time some of us are mountain guides, mountain photographers, high altitude mountaineers or dedicated telemarkers.
We know how the weather can be in the mountains as we have suffered it many times, yet we are confident that the better the weather forecast, the better the chances of a successful achievement and the better the enjoyment of the mountains. It is never being truer that knowledge is power, and in this case it could be the power to climb the mountains and return in one piece.
We do not have a magic ball and we do not sell snake oil. Scientific knowledge of the weather systems and the behaviour of the atmosphere is still poor. Be very critical if anybody tells you something different! Even the most powerful supercomputers can not cope with the shear amount of data and number crunching that a detailed high resolution model requires.
Yet, atmospheric modellers are doing a pretty good job. And we make the most of it, by putting together state of the art modelling tools with our personal knowledge of weather behaviour, and a long term experience on mountain terrain.
We check every available model, even the experimental outputs of recently conceived models, dynamical downscaling or the latest satellite imagery available. According to our experience the GFS model performs well on mountain regions. However, resolution is extremely imortant in steep terrain, that is why we are using the WRF model at higher resolution on an increasing number of regions. In any case we keep a critical and open mind about any model.
In the forecast pages we present the outputs of the GFS model at 0.5° resolution, centered on the nearest grid cell for the mountain of interest. Important parameters such as the wind speed are displayed in a easy to grasp color code, as Advance Base Camp is not the best place on earth for complicated reasoning. A detailed explanation in English and Spanish is given in the information section.
The graphic display is optimized for speed and short downloading time. An aditional simple page with twice daily charts can be downloaded directly. The charts are updated at 06z and 18z (GMT time), corresponding to the 00z and 12z outputs. The intermediate updates are reserved for the tailored forecasts (see contacts), as we do not have infinite computer power. In case of extreme weather we keep an eye on hourly satellite images and ground station data, so that we can transmit a warning message whenever posible.
Probably the most important tool for weather forecasting is the atmospheric sounding, yet its interpretation is not trivial, and estimating the orographic forcing is even more complicated. For that reason we do not display it here, but ask us about its meaning.
You can read about our previous involvement with expeditions to the Himalayas or Karakorum on these links:
- Explorers web
- Mountain Forum
- Seven summits Jordan Romero - Esri
- Base camp expeditions from Everest
- Cho Oyu 2006, by forecasting some of the most intense snow falls in the last 10 years in the region, we helped the team planning the correct time for a successful attemp to the sumit.
- K2 2004
- K2 2003 or here
- Investigación: Hombres del tiempo en los Gasherbrum. Desnivel.com
Some papers of a more academic content:
- Numerical Simulations Of Snow And Mountain Weather Conditions
- Modelling And Monitoring Snow Redistribution By Wind
- Improvement of a numerical snow drift model and field validation
- Modelling climate-change impacts on mountain glaciers and water resources in the Central Dry Andes
And some images of us at work:
Installing an automatic weather station in the Alps. Photo: rd
Another weather station in the Cordillera Blanca. Photo: jgc
Camp I while doing Glaciology studies on Cerro Juncal, Andes of Chile. Photo: jgc
Strong winds while in a scientific expedition to extract an ice core near the summit of Cerro San Valentin, Patagonia. Photo: jgc
Check these pages for more images related to weather or mountains
More things we do.