Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Local Warming

(Reclaimed from Bubblews. Topic credit: SamElder posted www.bubblews.com/news/5275027-weather-prediction .)

Here's an easy science experiment for adults and children: Write down where you are--whether you're in an urban, suburban, or rural area, near or above or below sea level. Write down the time and date. Write down the temperature in a shady spot outside where you are. Now check the official temperature at your local weather station and write it down. Now call friends in the inner city, various suburbs, and rural areas within about 100 miles (or up to 200 km) from where you are. Ask them to check the temperature where they are. Write those temperatures down. Repeat this when you think of it, for as long as your friends are willing to participate.

In the U.S., it's normal for the inner city to be 8 to 10 degrees warmer than the suburbs, and fairly common for some suburbs to be 8 to 10 degrees warmer than nearby farms. This is the "local warming effect" of various forms of pollution--pavement, motor vehicle exhaust, air conditioning. I've written about it at greater length, e.g., here: priscillaking.blogspot.com/2013/07/local-warming-and-how-to-control-urge.html .

Worldwide, it's normal for air temperatures to decrease with altitude. There's a formula for predicting this, although the actual decrease depends on humidity: answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080424080501AA4eTLP .

If your thermometer shows 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 Celsius when water begins to freeze, your thermometer is "right." If someone else's thermometer, ten miles away, reads three or five or ten degrees different from yours, that does not necessarily mean their thermometer is "wrong." They may be on the side of the hill that gets more sunshine, further up the mountain, or closer to the heart of town, and if so their temperature will be different from yours.

(Photo: Earl53 at Morguefile.com shared this photo of a squirrel on a hot day.)