Sunday, January 10, 2010

Talkin’ about the weather

There are two places I’ve lived longer than any others: Chicago, IL, USA and Auckland, New Zealand. They have something in common: Both of them report official temperatures that are different than the actual temperatures people feel.

When I lived there, Chicago took its official temperature at O’Hare International Airport, which is connected to the city by a narrow strip of land—a motorway. But Chicago is mainly along Lake Michigan, which moderates its weather (cooler in summer, warmer in winter). So, the O’Hare temperature is hardly representative of what people in most of the city actually feel.

The official temperature for Auckland is taken by MetService at Auckland International Airport and at the Whenuapai Airbase. The temperature reported is supposedly the one that best reflects of the temperature across Auckland. While the idea sounds okay, the execution still seems a bit lacking.

In our experience, the temperature at our house in summer is usually between four and eight degrees warmer than the official temperature, though the difference can be as little as two and as much as ten. At 6pm today, for example, the posted temperature was 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 Fahrenheit), but at our house, it was 27 (80.6 F). A few hours earlier, it hit 30 at our house, but officially it was 21 (86F and 69.8).

This difference means that friends and family overseas see our reported temperatures and think that Auckland is a much colder place in winter, and cooler in summer, than it actually is. Our climate is pretty mild year round, but it does get hot in summer. Overall, I like Auckland’s temperatures much more than Chicago’s. I just wish ours was reported more accurately.


Mark from Slap said...

I sent you a DM on Twitter about this (just to see how DMs work; did you get it?), but the gist is to be prepared for some serious bragging about the weather when it's my summer! ;)

Arthur Schenck said...

I forgot to reply publicly (I did through a DM). You can brag all you want in your summer, but remember that our winter is nothing like yours! :-)