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November 15, 2010

Why The Strange Morning Temperature Differences?

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Hi Mike!

My husband and I enjoy your morning forecast segments and have a question about large degree differences between reported current temps and the current one we see on our weather station at home. Usually they are within 5 degrees but sometimes they are way off. For example, this morning you show 51 for Fremont and we show 38. What causes this big difference?

Thanks!

Sally & Dan Bentley

Good Morning Miss Sally,

Great observation.

The main factor in different morning temperature readings, especially this time of year, is elevation. 

Cold air is heavier than warm air and under calm conditions, like we are experiencing, will fill the lowest elevations.  Morning temperatures can be 10 to 20 degrees warmer in the hills.

Wind is a factor in the opposite way.  Wind keeps the atmosphere mixed and the temperatures more homogenized.

A small factor is where and how your thermometer is mounted.  The National Weather service has specific guidelines about this. 

In essence, a thermometer closer to the ground and farther away from your house will be cooler.

Appreciate the question and hope this helps.

My best,

Mike

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