Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Comment re Tucson High Temperatures

From Russ Scott: Regarding the high temperatures, I remember when I moved here in 1995 that there was talk about the NWS moving the location of their official thermometer from over a tarmac or essentially paved location to a more natural desert surface. I don't know if this rumor is true, but it's why I've always thought that the record highs of ~115 we hit mostly in the early 90's turn out to be around 110-112 since then.

Of course, we'll probably get back to those records of 115 or more eventually as the climate continues to heat up, but the instrument move (if true) has set that back a couple of decades.


Actually the history of maximum temperatures and record highs has a somewhat checkered history here at Tucson. Many (or most) of the issues arose after the NWS implemented its automated surface observing systems (ASOS). For some background on the controversies see the following links:

 I do think think the ASOS has been relocated at the airport one or two times, but don't know the details. Accurate metadata concerning NWS observations can be very hard or impossible to find. Perhaps other readers know the history of the observing sites at the airport during the ASOS era?

Shown below are the current ASOS location at the airport, as well as a zoom-in on the ASOS site that is northwest of the main runway.

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