First Alert Weather In-Depth: Measuring the most accurate temperature | WHEC.com

First Alert Weather In-Depth: Measuring the most accurate temperature

Glenn Johnson
Created: May 10, 2022 05:52 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Everybody loves talking about the temperature this time of the year. But why do we get such differences in the temperature over a short distance? It could be a microclimate, but some of this can be the difference in the instrumentation we are using.

Why is my temperature different from the official temperature out at the Rochester Airport?  Maybe your house is measuring 80 degrees, but the National Weather Service has a reading of only 74 degrees.

Some of this difference may come down to what we do with our particular temperature sensor. That reading is always going to have an artificial bias if the sensor is sitting in the sunshine. The National Weather Service uses a white, well-ventilated box that houses the thermometer. If you have dark colors on your house that is going to absorb the radiant heat and give you a false reading. If there is concrete or asphalt nearby that will also increase the temperature reading. The optimal way of measuring temperature is 4 feet above the ground and located out in an open grassy field.

But not all of us have the resources to get that kind of accuracy.  So the most important thing to remember is to somehow block the sunshine. Number two is to shelter the sensor from any precipitation and lastly is to place the sensor away from the house.

After all, we all want to see the most accurate temperature readings.


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