See Physics at Work!
2013-12-22 20:36:50.000 – Mike Dorfman, Weather Observer
Canon Temperature Levels Out at 32 Degrees
Every day, as part of our routine, we perform data quality checks on all the data we process on the summit, including data from each of our 19 remote mesonet sites. Upon checking over our sites this morning, I found something interesting. As you can see in the picture posted with this comment, the temperature at this site rocketed up and seemingly hit a ceiling at 32 degrees. While this may seem like a malfunction, after comparing to other sites, it was found that this wasn’t truly an instrument malfunction. The temperature rose to around 32 degrees, then continued to rise, but at a slower rate. The ice on the ground and near the sensor then acted as a temperature anchor. Instead of continuing to warm the sensor, the above-freezing air mass was putting its energy into melting the ice at the surface. Especially on less windy days, this pocket of cooler air will allow our instruments to linger at the 32 degree mark for quite some time. It’s always fun to see physics at work in our environment!
Observer footnote: We would like to thank all of our dedicated members and followers for their patience while our IT Department made major, and much needed, upgrades to our summit computer servers. We know you rely on our summit and Mesonet weather data for planning your trips and to ensure safety. We apologize for any inconvenience any of you may have experienced, but rest assured that these upgrades will make our systems more reliable in the future.
Mike Dorfman, Weather Observer