During the forecast last evening, Greg Fischel expressed his skepticism with respect to the official RDU temperature readings (esp. the 100+ high temps) in the summer of 99. I recall he made a similar comment during 1999. He commented that the problem was not with the equipment, but due to the location of the equipment. Could you please elaborate on this?
Posted August 11, 2007
MIKE MOSS SAYS: Nick, I have to start this answer with the caveat that I am responding off the top of my head without an authoratative reference other than my own fading memory from that year! As I recall though, there was a lengthy stretch in which the RDU temperature would routinely end up about 2-3 degrees above the average of surrounding stations and that the thermometer calibration was checked by a technician a couple of times, only to find that the instrument checked out. Eventually, if I recall correctly, someone discovered that a grounds crew at the airport had cleared the area around the weather station with broad-spectrum herbicide, so that instead of a grassy or vegetated surface, there was bare ground or rocks instead, which is prone to higher temperatures in direct sunlight. It was a somewhat less extreme example of the problem one would have if the "official" weather station was set up in the middle of a recently paved asphalt parking lot!